Water, Sanitation and Energy Nexus Research Initiative
Under the Researcher Links scheme offered within the Newton Fund, University College London and the Instituto Federal de Goias will be holding a workshop on the Water, Sanitation and Energy Nexus Research Initiative in Goiania, Brazil from 13 to 16 September 2016.
The water, sanitation and energy nexus is a timely research topic because of the need not only to reduce the capital and operational costs of water and sanitation services but also to provide sustainable and appropriate infrastructure for rural and small communities. We believe that systems that make use of innovative technologies for water treatment and reuse, combined with renewable energy sources, are an appropriate response to this need. In Brazil, almost 45% of its 5570 municipalities lack sanitation systems, and although more than 99% of the cities have a potable water supply, around 23% face issues of shortages due to droughts. Also, only around 20% of the sewage collected is treated and only a few wastewater treatment plants make use of technologies that are capable of generating biogas. However, there is a great inequality between urban Brazil and rural Brazil where less than 30% of the population have access to treated water and 16% have access to proper sanitation services. Furthermore, energy in Brazil is mainly produced by hydropower, despite the huge potential of solar, wind and biomass energy generation in the country.
Once research capacity has become established in this field, Brazil’s economy can more readily be developed on the basis of clean energy (wind, solar and biogas/bioenergy from biomass), and sustainable decentralized water and wastewater systems can be implemented with a closed loop approach. This approach will make a huge impact on small and rural communities where a conventional urban water infrastructure may not be the most sustainable approach for all communities. It is time to rethink the way we provide water and sanitation infrastructure and services. In this workshop we want to explore the production of biogas by anaerobic digestion and co-digestion to supply energy for water and wastewater systems and/or potentially feed the grid, and the use of wind and solar energy. We are also interested in the production of (bio) fertilizer through the application of various technologies to treat faecal sludge and/or urine and the recycling of agricultural wastes. The workshop aims to promote decentralized closed-loop water and wastewater systems to reduce waste and recover energy and nutrients. We want to consider the potential of using food waste combined with sludge to produce biogas. However, we are also very interested in exploring the interaction of the social, economic and health aspects within a systems approach.
For this workshop, we are recruiting Early Career Researchers (ECRs) from both Brazil and the UK with an interest in this research area and from a wide range of disciplines including, but not limited to, public health engineering, environmental engineering, sociology, economics, international development, and others. ECRs are defined as holding a PhD (or having equivalent research experience) and having up to ten years’ post-PhD research experience (with consideration for career breaks). Participants must hold a research or academic position (a permanent post, research contract, or fellowship, etc.) at a recognized institution, either in the UK or in Brazil. Reasonable travel and accommodation expenses will be covered by the generous support of the British Council and the FAPEG (Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de Goias).
Applications are closed. Further enquiries can be made by contacting the workshop coordinators: