Diogo  Ferreira

Diogo Ferreira

Ph.D. Student

Project Title: Treatment technology for nutrient abatement in agricultural drainage networks

Factors like microbial and plant growth, as well as harvestable biomass change seasonally and can restrain the positive impact that Vegetative buffer strips (VBS) have in protecting agricultural catchment streams from high concentrations of nutrients being unloaded into streams by surface water runoff. It is of great interest, therefore, the investigation of how to optimally integrate end‑treatment technologies that can reduce nutrient loads in streams passively.

The present project focuses on designing, building and testing end‑treatment technologies, where the main objective is targeted at the development of a passive in-channel unit to, in combination with other nutrient abatement technologies developed by other projects, mitigate in‑stream nutrient loads and augment VBSs capacity. Projects of this kind have a few intrinsic drawbacks that can diminish their field use: long hydraulic retention time (HRT), a large footprint, and substrate clogging.

In the project plan are, but not be limited to, studies on the adsorption capacity of different materials to sorb nutrients (namely biochars), on the design and development of reactor systems. It also proposes the investigation, assessment and optimization of the system’s microbial function for it to be applied at the pilot scale.

The research is conducted within the framework of the Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geosciences (ICRAG, http://icrag-centre.org/). Funding is granted by the private sector as well as public institutions under the SFI Research Centres Programme and under the European Regional Development Fund.

Supervisor: Dr. David O’Connell