What we do

Pressure is increasing on our limited water resources. With more people requiring clean water, effective solutions need to come from reusing water in the most efficient way.

The Centre for Water Advanced Technologies and Environmental Research (CWATER) is an internationally leading centre of excellence for the development of advanced technologies in water treatment.

The Centre benefits from world-leading expertise in the areas of desalination and membrane technologies for water treatment.

Operation of membranes -

Our research looks at membranes as filtration devices.

Filtration is a mechanical or physical operation which is used for the separation of solids from fluids (liquids or gases) by interposing a medium to fluid flow through which the fluid can pass, but the solids (or at least part of the solids) in the fluid are retained.

Expertise in water to overcome shortages



Operation of membranes - Filtration

Research areas

The work of CWATER is multi-disciplinary and encompasses a wide variety of topics.

Broadly speaking, our work fits into one of three categories:

  • Drinking water treatment: improved methods of potable water treatment, with a view to meeting tightening regulations at cheaper capital and operating costs.
  • Waste-water treatment: technologies for the efficient removal of environmentally harmful materials and thus reduced emissions per output of discharge.
  • Process-water treatment: methods for the treatment of process streams enabling the recycling of water and valuable chemical intermediates.

The following gives an overview of current and potential future research areas, by technological area.

Modelling membrane processes

  • Development of ‘ab initio’ descriptions of membrane nanofiltration
  • Macromolecule filtrations from structural sequence only
  • Process prediction and optimisation

Membrane and process characterisation

  • Membrane autopsy
  • Structural characterisation of membranes for pore size and distribution
  • Atomic force microscopy, SEM, BET, rejection profiling
  • Surface charge evaluation from streaming potentials and zeta-potentials
  • Particle characterisation for size distributions and shape
  • Dynamic light scattering, laser diffraction, SEM, optical microscopy

Hazardous substances

Development of effective treatment processes for the removal of hazardous substances in water and wastewater including:

  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)
  • Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products as Pollutants (PPCPs)
  • Landfill leachates
  • Heavy metals
  • Textile effluent
  • Pesticides
  • Potential carcinogenic substances in drinking water

Pilot scale studies

  • Process characterisation and industrial trials
  • Nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration
  • Microfiltration, pervaporation
  • Ozonation
  • Advanced Oxidation

Development of new membranes

  • Development of (Bio)fouling resistant membranes
  • Development of novel membranes by phase inversion
  • Design and fabrication of high rejection high flux nanofilters
  • Optimisation of surface properties for more efficient separations

Ozonation and Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs)

  • Ozonation
  • AOPs (O3/H2O2; O3/UV; O3/catalysts; O3/US; UV/H2O2; photocatalysis)
  • Mass transfer
  • Reaction kinetics
  • Equipment and process design
  • Analytical methods
  • Ozone combined processes (Liquid/Liquid-Ozone and Liquid/Solid-Ozone)
  • Modelling
New book on Membrane Fabrication (CRC press, ISBN: 9781482210453) 
by Professor Nidal Hilal et al

Membrane Fabrication

Professor Nidal Hilal and Dr Chris J. Wright are the co-authors of a recently published book by CRC Press titled ‘Membrane Fabrication’, ISBN: 9781482210453. 

The book addresses membrane manufacturing and comprehensively reviews and assesses the membrane fabrication process and the techniques for inorganic, polymeric and composite membranes. It discusses various commercial and emerging fabrication techniques and details how different membranes can be fabricated and tailored for specific applications in many applications including desalination and water treatment.

It shows the effects of different fabrication conditions on inorganic, polymeric and composite membranes and how these fabrication conditions can be controlled to optimize membrane construction and the subsequent application of the membrane system.

Professor Nidal Hilal is Chair in Water Process Engineering, College of Engineering and Editor-in-Chief of the International journal Desalination and Dr Chris J. Wright is a Reader in the College of Engineering at Swansea University.


  • Algae biorefinery concepts
  • Algea processing and separation

FIltration range

Filtration range