School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


In-factory wastewater quality sensing and control

In-factory wastewater quality sensing and control

Industry lacks the data on wastewater production in-plant needed to effectively address the environmental impacts of water use.

Our Aim

Resource efficiency, i.e. making the best use of resources possible and avoiding waste, is a key foundation of sustainability in manufacturing.

Water constitutes a critical resource that is in limited supply, with projected demand set to greatly exceed supply over the medium term. Industry is one of the sectors in which demand is set to grow the most, but an understanding of how and why water is used has historically been neglected.

The aim of this research is to enable manufacturers to permanently reduce their demand for water, by addressing the current lack of data on and understanding of water usage in industrial plants. The desired capability is real-time measurement of content and water flow volumes within the production process chain, with the goal of identifying and prioritising opportunities for application of water efficiency measures. Sensor enabled active management of water use is another area of investigation.

Our Research

The current focus is on characterising and trialling sensors capable of determining contributions of individual manufacturing process steps and operations to the factory effluent load. For the work a mini-factory simulator has been constructed which is used to complement factory onsite trials.

Our Outcomes

  • Established correlation of sensor outputs with standard water quality parameters
  • Use of sensors in close loop process control of cleaning processes under development
  • Combining of water measurements with energy and other resource data streams to allow co-management of resources under development

Dr Patrick Webb - Lecturer in Advanced Manufacturing

The ability to quickly determine not only flow rates but water contamination content within the production process chain will greatly facilitate understanding of how to reduce the environmental impact of industrial water usage.

Athena Swan Bronze award

Contact us

The Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU