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Hydro-environmental Research Centre

From the dangers of flooding to renewable energy potential, the environmental management of water presents unique opportunities and challenges to engineers. The Hydro-environmental Research Centre was established in 1997 with the aim of pursuing research into the development and application of computer models for investigating flow, water quality, sediment and contaminant transport processes, in coastal waters, estuaries and river basins.

We are also at the cutting-edge of tidal stream energy research, designing turbines to exploit the potential of tidal streams such as the Severn Estuary to provide clean and reliable renewable energy.

Watch our Tidal Stream Turbine Research


Our prime aim is to pursue research into the development, refinement and application of hydro-environmental computational models for predicting flow, water quality, sediment and contaminant transport processes in coastal waters, estuaries and river basins, with the main objectives of the Centre being summarised as follows:

  • To develop computational models to predict flow, solutes (including pollutants) and sediment transport processes in coastal, estuarine and river waters;
  • To undertake laboratory model studies and field monitoring programmes to improve on the accuracy of computational models;
  • To apply, calibrate and verify computational models against field data and develop interfaces and output devices for wider interpretation of the model results.

We have an an international reputation in environmental water management, with collaborative studies being undertaken with institutions in 19 countries, as well as other UK universities, CH2M Hill., Arup, HR Wallingford, Environment Agency, Scottish Water, APB MER, Cardiff Harbour Authority and several SMEs in the region.

Research activities involve the following main areas:

  • Computational hydraulics modelling
  • Hydraulic laboratory modelling studies
  • Coastal and estuarine hydrodynamics and water quality
  • Flood modelling of river basin systems
  • Eco-hydraulics and vegetation impact, including wetlands and mangroves
  • Surface and groundwater interactions
  • Sediment transport and geomorphological modelling
  • Water quality and contaminant process modelling
  • Disinfection and wastewater treatment process modelling
  • Tidal stream turbine design and operation
  • Turbulence measurement and modelling
  • Numerical methods and solution procedures

Lead researcher

Academic staff

Dr Reza Ahmadian

Dr Reza Ahmadian

Senior Lecturer

+44 (0)29 2087 4003
Michaela Bray

Dr Michaela Bray

Lecturer - Teaching and Research

+44 (0)29 0287 0907
Roger Falconer

Professor Roger Falconer

Emeritus Professor

+44 (0)7775 640 468
Binliang Lin

Binliang Lin


+44 (0)29 2087 4000
Shunqi Pan

Professor Shunqi Pan

Professor of Coastal Engineering

+44 (0)29 2087 5694
Catherine Wilson

Dr Catherine Wilson

Senior Lecturer - Teaching and Research

+44 (0)29 2087 4282
Zhihua Xie

Dr Zhihua Xie

Lecturer - Teaching and Research

+44 (0)29 2087 9375

We have a large, well equipped hydraulics laboratory, including: a large tidal basin, 2 recirculating flumes (1.2m wide and 0.3m wide), a large tidal flume (1.2m wide, 1.0m deep, bidirectional flow capacity of up to 1 cumec) and a model disinfection tank. The flumes and basins can accommodate a wide range of hydraulic model experiments, as can be seen from the list of research projects undertaken to date. Sophisticated measuring equipment include: a number of Acoustic Doppler Velocimeters (up to 200Hz of sampling frequency), 2 digital fluorometers, a bed profiler, an automated multi-probe water level monitoring system and access to a Laser Doppler Anemometer. Our staff also work closely with other research groups and government departments and industry, across Wales and internationally, in acquiring field data.