Professor Stuart Khan: Advancing water treatment through ARC Future Fellowship

Professor Stuart Khan, in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship beginning in 2018 and running through 2021.

The objective of Prof Khan’s research project is to develop a highly practical, but scientifically robust, framework for validation and performance monitoring of an advanced water treatment process. The process is known as ‘advanced oxidation’, and the applications that Khan will be studying involve the use of high-intensity ultraviolet (UV) to catalyse the production of highly oxidative radical species, including hydroxyl radicals (HO•). These hydroxyl radicals are then used to break down chemical contaminants in the water, particularly those which are not well removed by other processes such as reverse osmosis. Professor Stuart Khan, UNSW Global Water Institute

Advanced oxidation is rapidly growing in importance as a water treatment process. This is largely in response to growing worldwide interest in reclaiming contaminated wastewaters and treating them to a level suitable to be reused as clean, safe drinking water. Suitable technology is well established and is now being used at dozens of advanced water treatment plants around the world.  However, Prof Khan has identified an important gap in the ability to monitor advanced oxidation processes for reliable radical production and performance.

The principal outcome of Dr Khan’s Future Fellowship will be a new framework for validation and performance monitoring, which if accepted, will be adopted by water utilities and the regulatory agencies that oversee and approve their operations. Benefits will include improved viability of water recycling projects, increased urban water supply security and enhanced protection of public health.

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