WRC Research Student Graduations

Dr Wasko with his PhD peers

Congratulations to Dr Wasko and Dr Lui

Two WRC researchers graduated last Thursday with their PhDs in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Dr Conrad Wasko’s PhD was entitled “Continuous rainfall simulation in a warmer climate”. He focussed on assessing how climate change affects rainfall patterns and how flood design can be adapted in response. In his work, Conrad found that storms intensify in space and time resulting in greater urban flooding as a consequence of warmer temperatures. Additionally, he was able to show that historical climate sensitives can successfully be used in simulating how climate change may affect rainfall in a future warmer world. Conrad is now a Research Associate at the University of New South Wales’ Water Research Centre where he is incorporating the latest satellite measurements of rainfall into methodologies for infrastructure design. Conrad’s PhD was supervised by Professor Ashish Sharma.

Dr Gough Lui’s project was titled "Investigation of photovoltaic-powered light-emitting diode based water disinfection for point-of-use application." Put simply, he focused on improving water supply to those in developing countries, and rural/regional areas with no access to centralized water disinfection. These areas rely on water of variable quality, which can contain pathogens causing waterborne diseases which claim infant lives and cause illness in adults, reducing their quality of life. The best way to address this is through point-of-use disinfection, but present technologies aren't ideal owing to their use of consumables, high cost, training requirements and safety problems.

Gough combined sustainable energy in the form of photovoltaic (solar) power with newly developed UV-C and existing UV-A LEDs to produce a device that uses only solar energy to disinfect water, while also being simple, robust, safe and reliable. While each piece of technology on its own had been demonstrated at bench-scale, devices were notably absent and a number of engineering-related knowledge gaps were addressed in order to prototype and prove the concept to be successful and valuable. Caveats were identified in pricing and LED liminations, and further research is necessary. However, with the rapid changes in the UV-C LED market, we anticipate that these caveats would soon be overcome and the concept would be more widely adopted in the near future. Such technologies can also be useful in other applications, such as disaster relief efforts and potentially wastewater disinfection. Gough’s PhD was supervised by Dr. David Roser, Prof. Richard Stuetz and Dr. Richard Corkish (from School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering).

Gough is now finalizing his last few journal papers and a conference presentation in Canberra at the end of November.

Gough Lui with supervisor Dr David Roser
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