A CEH-led team has been successful in obtaining funding from the Science & Technology Facilities Council to develop novel dissolved organic carbon (DOC) sensor technology. The funding comes from a scheme which has the aim of encouraging projects to solve environmental grand challenges.

Paul Scholefield, Ed Tipping, Don Monteith and Neville Llewellyn of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and partner Dr Hugh Mortimer at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory are working on the project to use a handheld spectroscopy device to detect natural organic matter in water. Using technology developed for space applications, the device provides a compact and inexpensive solution to chemical identification for industrial applications and use in harsh environments.

Dr Scholefield said, "We are really pleased to be given this opportunity to develop the work here at Lancaster on dissolved organic carbon (DOC) measurements using the techniques developed by Ed Tipping at CEH and partners at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Substantial sums are spent nationally monitoring and removing DOC from the water supply. The system we propose has the potential to improve efficiency of water treatment and could lead to significant savings to the UK water industry and ultimately the homeowner."

Six other projects from more than 100 applications have been funded under the £1.5 million scheme. STFC runs an annual Challenge Led Applied Systems Programme (CLASP) call for proposals, with each call focusing on a Grand Challenge area where new technology emerging from STFC’s research base can be applied through collaborative work with other researchers and industry to meet challenges aligned to the Futures programme; Energy , Environment, Healthcare and Security.

The successful CEH project is funded under the CLASP Programme to meet specific challenges in the Environment sector. The programme plans to produce tangible results in a three to five year period and bring STFC researchers together with other academic disciplines and industry through new collaborations to solve real environmental challenges.

Meanwhile, a new CLASP Energy call for 2013 with a £1.5M fund has been announced and STFC is holding an Information & Networking day on 2 July at the Science Museum allowing potential applicants to find out more on the focus for the call and meet new collaborators. Click here for details of the free event and registration.

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