• Dr Mike Harbottle is presenting a poster entitled 'Combined physical and biological gel-based healing of cementitious materials' at the International Conference on Self-Healing Materials (Ghent, Belgium) in June 2013.
• Richard Gill presented a paper entitled ‘Stimulating in situ bioremediation in electron acceptor-limited zones by nitrate delivery using electrokinetics in a model scale aquifer’ at the 12th International UFZ-Deltares Conference on Groundwater-Soil-Systems and Water Resource Management in Barcelona, Spain, in April 2013.
Currently, my group is undertaking work in a number of areas of civil and environmental engineering. I am particularly interested in three general areas:
Interactions between civil and geotechnical engineering and biology (‘biogeotechnics’). Many organisms, particularly plants and microorganisms, have the potential to impact on soil structure and properties. We are developing a number of projects in this area, for example in situ biofilm growth for soil stabilisation.
Biotechnology in contaminated land remediation. We are using living organisms, both plants and microorganisms, in a range of projects. These include dealing directly with contamination through bioremediation as well as using biological methods to enhance other techniques, particularly those that are operated in situ, such as pump and treat or electrokinetics.
Electrical properties of soil and groundwater. We are using electrokinetic techniques for the remediation of metal- and organic-contaminated ground, as well as investigations of potential energy applications.
Current supervised and co-supervised doctoral projects:
• Paris Alshiblawi is exploring the use of microbiological activity to manage sub-surface water flow in the remediation of contaminated land. By controlling the phenomenon of preferential flow we aim to increase the efficiency of remediation technologies such as pump and treat.
• Dan Herbert is employing scale model tests and 3D digital image correlation (DIC) techniques in our centrifuge facilities to study the impact of flood loading on masonry walls, complemented by analytical modelling of the phenomena involved. Dan is supported by an EPSRC studentship.
• Ziad Milad has been studying the impact of landfill leachate on the basic geotechnical properties of natural soil in Kuwait and is extending this work to field scale investigation as well as further laboratory experimentation to explore soil chemistry and moisture infiltration effects.
• Ahmed Mugwar is working on biological stabilisation of inorganic contamination, particular heavy metals and elements of interest in radionuclide contamination.
• Sunday Akinsola Oniosun has recently begun studying multiphase interactions of plant roots in unsaturated, NAPL-contaminated soils.
• Katherine Page is investigating the use of compost-like organic waste material as a substrate for short rotation coppicing on brownfield sites. Current experiments are looking at a range of biofuel crops, including willow, in terms of metal uptake and growth performance. Her studentship is supported by Forest Research and EPSRC.
• I am also involved in a PhD project at the University of Sheffield, where Richard Gill, co-supervised by Dr Steve Thornton, Dr Wei Huang and Prof. Jonathan Smith (Shell UK), is exploring using electrokinetics in microbial treatment of contaminated groundwater.
I have been a lecturer in geoenvironmental engineering at Cardiff University School of Engineering since September 2006. Following a Masters in Engineering at Oxford University, I joined Fugro Limited (UK), working on offshore and onshore site investigation and engineering. I then returned to Oxford University as a doctoral student working with the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (Oxford). Postdoctoral work at Cambridge University Engineering Department followed, with the SUBR:IM (Sustainable Urban Brownfield Regeneration: Integrated Management) consortium. Whilst in Cambridge, I was elected Fellow of Robinson College.