Thursday, 26 July 2012


Though I'm on holiday from the University for much of the summer, I've never been busier.

I've been preparing three training courses, two overseas, one UK, as well as preparing three new plant design courses for the University.

A new job came in today week evaluating technical and commercial aspects of bids for an industrial effluent treatment plant, I've had a couple of serious enquiries to investigate problems with water features and industrial effluent treatment plants, and I've even had an enquiry to do with industrial effluent treatment via the University!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Recommissioned Titan Plant

Here's that unloved Titan/Entec/Kingspan plant back in full working order after last week's repair / refurbishment / recommissioning exercise.

The C and L Fabrications Matrix unit proved far more difficult to fix, due to a combination of installation errors and what appear to be design weaknesses.

All package plant designs have their strong and weak points, but the Matrix appears to have a feature that makes it hard to recover from the sort of substandard installation we saw at this site.

Despite this we we able to get everything back in working order.

We have reconfigured the plant layout to overcome a number of weaknesses, and now we will take samples at intervals to observe the recovery of biological treatment capacity.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

As real as it gets

I'm writing a manual today for a forthcoming course in Saudi Arabia on desalination.

I'm looking forward to getting away from the desk, and going to site tomorrow for something a bit more hands-on. We will be repairing and recommissioning two package plants (including the "Matrix" unit pictured above) at an Indian restaurant in the North -West UK.

I'm taking a couple of MSc students I'm supervising at Nottingham along to watch. It'll be nice for all of us to remember that whilst research and writing are both interesting and necessary, making things actually work is a rather messier business.  

Friday, 13 July 2012

On Specialisation

To get some perspective... 

Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:
By the time you finish elementary school, you know a little:
By the time you finish high school, you know a bit more:
With a bachelor's degree, you gain a specialty:
A master's degree deepens that specialty:
Reading research papers takes you to the edge of human knowledge:
Once you're at the boundary, you focus:
You push at the boundary for a few years:
Until one day, the boundary gives way:
And, that dent you've made is called a Ph.D.:
Of course, the world looks different to you now:
So, don't forget the bigger picture:

Keep pushing.

From the Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D. by Matt Might

Friday, 6 July 2012

Summer Holidays?

water problems

I'm having to write to one of my overseas clients today to say that I've only got a couple of weeks un-booked between now and October.

Recommissioning of package plants, three or four professional training courses overseas and UK, expert witness work, as well as a number of smaller troubleshooting jobs, of course writing my Design and Advanced Environmental Engineering courses for Nottingham, and a few bits of holiday.

Not really holiday weather anyway...