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Toxicity and Organic Load Tracking using BioElectrochemical Systems

The ToOLTuBES project will develop a real-time water quality biosensor.

Project leader

Prof Ian Head



Project staff

Prof Keith Scott

Dr Eileen Yu

Prof Tom Curtis

Dr Martin Spurr




University of South Wales


We are working towards technology readiness level (TRL) 7. TRL 7 specifies demonstration in an operating environment at pre-commercial scale.

BES (BioElectrochemical Systems) technology incorporates an electrode-supported microbial biofilm. It generates electricity from oxidation of organics. It has great potential for low-cost, real-time sensing applications.

The magnitude of the electrical current generated correlates with the organic loading. Toxic compounds inhibit the signal. The sensor will monitor organic load and toxicity levels in real-time on wastewater influent samples.

We will use samples from a real-world wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). We will collect long-term monitoring data over two years. We will use the data to inform design and cohesion of a combined sensor package. This will propel the technology towards commercial realisation.