Miss Natalia Jawiarczyk - Cranfield University (Fatberg crystals)  Photo presents the effect of FOG deposits fractionation using organic solvent. The residues on the filter paper represents non-lipid constituents of fatberg Image: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council All rights reserved

National science photo prize for unusual image of fatberg deposits

Natalia Jawiarczyk’s image of fatberg crystals has won the ‘weird and wonderful’ category in the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s annual science photography competition.

Natalia, an engineering doctorate student in the School of Water, Energy and Environment, is investigating how fatberg deposits form in sewers and how they can be broken down effectively.

Her image shows the effect of fat, oil and grease (FOG) deposits fractionation using organic solvent. The residues on the filter paper represent non-lipid constituents of a fatberg.

Deposition and accumulation of FOGs in sewers are causing increasing problems in the water sector. Massive FOG deposits congealing with non-flushable products cause of blockages and sewer overflows. This can lead to properties flooding.

Mechanical removal and maintenance of FOG-blocked sewers cost between £15 and £50 million each year. They also present a high risk to public health and the environment.

The aim of Natalia’s study is to establish how deposits form in the sewer network and how they can be effectively degraded and inhibited with bioaugmentation products.

Investigation of FOG deposits composition, as shown in the photograph, gives a better insight into processes behind fatberg formation.

Click here for more information about the competition.