Some see the Roman Baths. We see safer water to drink.

“If there is no water, there is no food. Finding new ways of reusing wastewater and improving its quality is absolutely essential. Water shortage means human suffering and can ultimately lead to wars.”

PhD student Mais Sweiss, Department of Biology & Biochemistry

As one of the most water-poor countries in the world, Jordan’s water resources fall significantly below the global water scarcity line. Refugee flow from Syria, Iraq and Palestine, puts even more pressure on this chronically scarce resource.

New ways of cutting down water wastage and overuse are in desperate demand and high on the Jordanian government’s agenda. This demand brought Mais Sweiss to Bath, determined to work with us to find a practical solution to a problem affecting so many people.

Algae Research
Algae Research

Mais is drawing on research carried out by our Professor of Plant Molecular Biology, Rod Scott. Rod’s project had been looking at the algae that grows in the high water temperatures of the city’s Roman Baths.

He was searching for an algae that would be suitable for large scale use in biofuel production – having enough easily retrievable cell oil and the ability to survive high temperatures.

Mais’s research looks at how Rod’s techniques can be applied to Jordanian algae species and so make them suitable for use in water cleaning technologies back home. On her return to Jordan after her studies, she plans to set up an algae research lab and teach others what she has discovered.

“There is no one at my university in Jordan who does algae research and only a handful of people in the whole of Jordan doing research in this field. Bath offers a good environment to learn. I came here to gain new expertise and skills so I can pass them on to my own students.”

Mais’s time at Bath has seen the development of a major collaboration with Wessex Water resulting in the foundation of a new Water Innovation & Research Centre. The newly launched centre draws expertise across various faculties and departments including Biology & Biochemistry, Chemical Engineering and Chemistry amongst others, and looks at a wide variety of issues related to water supply.

Related links

How Bath research could reduce water scarcity in Middle East

Water Innovation & Research Centre