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Faculty of Science and Engineering Videos

Preview image for video: Subsurface at Manchester - David Manning guest seminar

Emilie Brady –

Oct 20, 2020

Subsurface at Manchester - David Manning guest seminar

Deep heat in Newcastle: the Helix well and the search for geothermal energy in an urban setting In 2011, Newcastle Science Central no 1 was drilled to a depth of 1821 m to investigate the geothermal potential of the Fell Sandstone Group, which is part of the Lower Carboniferous Border Group that outcrops to the north of Newcastle. The aim of the borehole was to intercept faults associated with the 90 Fathom Fault system, and to intercept brines known to exist at depth in the area. In 2014, the well was completed to a depth of 1650.88 m, with the bottom 300 m perforated and sealed from overlying formations to permit testing of the formation. So far so good….. Pump tests proved impossible. The Fell Sandstone at this location simply is not permeable enough to deliver flow for routine tests to be carried out. The drillers withdrew from the site, and we monitored recovery of the water level in the well, deducing that the hydraulic conductivity was 7 × 10−5 m d−1. The water that entered the well was highly saline, similar in composition to the deep mine waters known in the region. We were left with a dry hole, and we have been able to use that to our advantage, as dry holes need to find a use, be they originally intended for hydrocarbon or groundwater production. Using funding from the EPSRC Decarbonising Heating and Cooling call, we start later this year an investigation to investigate the ability of the well to supply heat to the adjacent Urban Science Building. This heavily instrumented building was opened in 2017 as Newcastle University’s first building on the Helix site, informing the Urban Observatory. This presentation will describe the site, the well, and the planned research, discussing implications for geothermal energy in other cities. David Manning is a Professor of Soil Science at Newcastle University.

Preview image for video: COVID Catalysts | Build back better with carbon removal: Towards a green and responsible recovery

Enna Bartlett –

Sep 28, 2020

COVID Catalysts | Build back better with carbon removal: Towards a green and responsible recovery

Dr Rob Bellamy, Presidential Fellow in Environment in the Department of Geography The policies and incentives that governments now choose to fuel the recovery from coronavirus are likely to shape the emissions trajectory for decades to come. But the coronavirus crisis has also shown us that this will be difficult. Even though we were brought to a virtual standstill during the pandemic, we’re still set to release 95% of the emissions we would in a normal year. Therefore, placing restrictions on individual behaviours can only do so much. Now is the time to embrace carbon dioxide removal: not only to spur a green recovery by building a new industry and the associated jobs, but also to make the targets feasible, given that we can’t eliminate emissions from sectors, like agriculture, steel and cement. This lecture discusses carbon dioxide removal as a solution in a suite of solutions that need to be considered and the approaches policymakers should consider in order to use responsibly, in order to reflect diverse societal values and interests. View all our flash lectures and find out more on our COVID Catalysts web page https://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/beacons/covid-catalysts/ Energy is one of five key areas of research focus at The University of Manchester. Our research beacons shine a light on Manchester's pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships which are helping to tackle some of the biggest global challenges facing the planet. Find out more about our energy research https://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/beacons/energy/ Filmed: 12/08/20

Preview image for video: COVID Catalysts | COVID-19 & changing social practices: implications for sustainable lifestyles

Enna Bartlett –

Sep 28, 2020

COVID Catalysts | COVID-19 & changing social practices: implications for sustainable lifestyles

Claire Hoolohan, Research Fellow at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Without warning or consent, Covid-19 caused unprecedented disruption to everyday life, prompting a period of forced experimentation as people adjusted to new ways of living. This forced experiment have us a window to observe what happens when ordinary schedules – 9-5 work day, the school run, weekdays/weekends – are suspended. What was observed was the development of low-carbon habits as disrupted routines resulted in a range of benefits from reducing local air pollution to balancing the grid. The question that faces society now is how do we recover from Covid-19 in a way that means society is healthier, happier and more sustainable than before. How can we rise to this challenge in order to lock-in low-carbon lifestyles? View all our flash lectures and find out more on our COVID Catalysts web page https://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/beacons/covid-catalysts/ Energy is one of five key areas of research focus at The University of Manchester. Our research beacons shine a light on Manchester's pioneering discoveries, interdisciplinary collaboration and cross-sector partnerships which are helping to tackle some of the biggest global challenges facing the planet. Find out more about our energy research https://www.manchester.ac.uk/research/beacons/energy/ Filmed: 26/08/20

Preview image for video: The Future of Trees – Anna Gilchrist

Emilie Brady –

Sep 25, 2020

The Future of Trees – Anna Gilchrist

Anna Gilchrist - Lecturer in Environmental Planning, School of Environment, Education and Development Deforesting the Urban Jungle? A case-study of the University of Manchester campus - The decline of the urban treescape due to intensifying development and densification pressures is a growing concern for urban citizens. Calculating the scale and associated impacts of urban tree removal is challenging however, because felling often occurs incrementally and with little or no warning. Notable publicity has highlighted the extent of public concern about the removal of trees, but urban deforestation events that achieve notoriety, may not accurately represent the scale of environmental harm. This research analyses aerial photography over a 22 year time period (1995-2017) to measure the reduction in tree canopy area on the University of Manchester campus. An assessment tool was then used to measure the loss of specific ecosystem services associated with tree removal during a period of extensive redevelopment and densification associated with a £1 billion campus redesign undertaken between 2013 and 2017. Results show that the total tree canopy area on the University of Manchester campus has declined by 44% since 1995. Between 1995 and 2009, incremental development of the campus led to greater losses in tree canopy area when compared with 2009-2017, despite this later time period including the phase of intensive campus densification and significant negative publicity about tree removal. This suggests that incremental densification can result in substantial reductions in tree canopy area despite being relatively indiscernible and generating little public complaint. The short period of campus redesign has however, also seen a significant reduction in canopy area and loss of ecosystem services, including reduced pollution removal, carbon storage and sequestration and avoided run-off. Future analysis should aim to analyse the extent of recent tree planting on campus, although this is unlikely to have increased canopy area or ecosystem service provision much, due to species selection and limited land availability. Trees are an integral part of many landscapes in forests, woodlands, parks, streets and cities but are facing immense challenges from climate change, pests and diseases. This event hoped to stimulate conversations between research communities at The University of Manchester working on research related to forestry, woodland, urban and other treescapes to inform and support future collaborative working. This event was hosted by Manchester Environmental Research Institute on the 23 September 2020

Preview image for video: Intensifying irrigated agriculture in the Eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains - Tim Foster

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 11, 2020

Intensifying irrigated agriculture in the Eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains - Tim Foster

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Water and Sustainable Development’ event on the 5th August 2020. In many parts of South Asia, electricity for groundwater pumping has been directly or indirectly subsidised by governments to support intensification of agriculture. In contrast, farmers in large portions of the Eastern Indo-Gangetic Plains (EIGP) remain largely dependent on unsubsidised diesel power for irrigation pumping. High energy costs of pumping limit the ability of farmers to utilise available groundwater resources, increasing exposure to farm production risks and contributing to chronic poverty. To date, research to address these challenges has largely focused on efforts to enhance rural electrification or introduce renewable energy-based pumping systems that remain out of reach of many poor smallholders. However, there has been comparatively little focus on understanding opportunities to improve the cost-effectiveness and performance of the thousands of existing diesel-pump irrigation systems already in use in the EIGP. Here, we present findings from a recent survey of over 432 farmer households in the mid-western Terai region of Nepal – an important area of diesel-pump irrigation in the EIGP. Our survey provides information about key socio-economic, technological and behavioral aspects of diesel pump irrigation systems currently in operation, along with quantitative evidence about their impacts on agricultural productivity and profitability. We identify key institutional and technological strategies to support intensification of diesel pump irrigation, and highlight the role these solutions can play in supporting long-term poverty reduction and transitions to alternative electric or solar-based pumping systems in the region. Tim is a Senior Lecturer in Water-Food Security in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering at the University of Manchester. His research combines insights from household surveys, remote sensing and crop modelling to understand the use of land, water and energy in agricultural production in regions worldwide. His research seeks to support farmers, policymakers and funder to design and implement policies to support sustainable agricultural water management and rural economies in both developed and developing countries.

Preview image for video: Farmer-led irrigation initiatives in Africa - Phil Woodhouse

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 11, 2020

Farmer-led irrigation initiatives in Africa - Phil Woodhouse

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Water and Sustainable Development’ event on the 5th August 2020. Research over the past decade has uncovered evidence of investment of capital and labour by small-scale farmers in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. This phenomenon in some cases leverages support from government agencies, but in many cases does not. It involves use of a range of different water management technologies and is primarily oriented to supply growing urban food markets. The SAFI project aimed to investigate the potential for this 'farmer-led' irrigation development to drive broad-based economic growth in Africa's rural areas. Phil Woodhouse trained in the UK as an agricultural scientist at the universities of Oxford (BA) and Reading (PhD). He worked in Mozambique for eight years for the National Agronomy Research Institute and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. After returning to the UK he was based first at the Open University and subsequently at Manchester University, where he is currently Professor of Environment and Development in the Global Development Institute. He has undertaken field studies in a number of countries in Francophone West Africa, southern Africa, and East Africa. He co-authored African Enclosures: the social dynamics of wetlands in drylands (James Currey, 2000), Water and Development (Routledge, 2011) and Valuing Development, Environment and Conservation: Creating Values that Matter (Routledge, 2018). He was principal investigator on the international collaborative project Studying African Farmer-led Irrigation (SAFI) funded by DFID-ESRC (DEGRP).

Preview image for video: New approaches for managing water under regional resource conflicts - Julien Harou

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 10, 2020

New approaches for managing water under regional resource conflicts - Julien Harou

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Water and Sustainable Development’ event on the 5th August 2020. Water scarcity world-wide is increasing. New approaches and tools are needed to make it easier for broad coalitions of stakeholders to understand water systems better and collaborate on water management decisions more effectively and efficiently. Particularly on regional systems, or water resources which cross borders, effective collaboration is increasingly essential. Water impacts on other economic sectors such as energy and food, and also on ecosystems. Managing water well requires understanding synergies and trade-offs with these resource systems as well. This talk will describe and give examples of approaches and tools the Univ. of Manchester is developing as part of its £8M flagship FutureDAMS.org project ('Future Design and Assessment of water-energy-food-environment MegaSystems'). Professor Julien Harou is Chair in Water Engineering since 2013. Previously he was a lecturer at University College London. He has a PhD from the University of California Davis in water resources engineering and economics and an Master’s degree from Cornell University. Julien's group contributes globally leading research in water resources planning and management, water-energy-food systems, and environmental management software.

Preview image for video: Cecilia Medupin - Small but mighty impact: aquatic macroinvertebrates & public engagement

Manchester Environmental Research Institute –

Aug 10, 2020

Cecilia Medupin - Small but mighty impact: aquatic macroinvertebrates & public engagement

This was presented at an event series convened by Manchester Environmental Research Institute to showcase water related research and was part of the ‘Water Research at Manchester - Hydrological Change and Society's Response’ event on the 22nd July 2020. Macroinvertebrates are considered important organisms in the aquatic ecosystem. This is based on their roles as bioindicators, their sensitivity to environmental variables and, ability to inform aquatic health. They are also important organisms in the aquatic food chain. This study aims to investigate the impact of human activities on aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblage structure and composition using some examples in the Greater Manchester areas. By exploring existing management options, this study provides insight into strategies needed to sustainably manage, protect or restore these aquatic organisms for the future including the role of public engagement. Dr Cecilia Medupin is a Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, School of Natural Sciences. She completed a BSc degree in Biochemistry at Bayero University, Nigeria and then worked for a Nigerian soft drinks company as a Process Control Officer. Following her Masters degree in Pollution and Environmental Control at the University of Manchester, Cecilia worked as an Environmental Auditor for a UK rubber recycling company, Environment Officer with the UK Environment Agency and Environmental Compliance Adviser with Sellafield Limited (Formerly BNFL), Cumbria. Upon returning to Nigeria she worked at the National Open University as a Lecturer/Course Coordinator. During this time, Cecilia also studied for a PhD at Manchester in the lab of Drs. Keith White and James Rothwell examining the impact of point source pollution on an urban river. Cecilia Medupin is passionate about teaching of ecology and has engaged members of the public through her theme “What’s in your river?” to communicate to diverse groups of people, the fact that there is life below water including macroinvertebrates. Some of these people include 16-18-year-olds. Which she does through the British Ecological Society (BES) summer school; to younger children in science festivals and museums, and to older adults in the UK and abroad. Overall, Cecilia aims to communicate the fascination of freshwater ecology, promote inclusion and participation, through her teaching and research activities. She is a co-lead with the national community for Engaging Environments.