Research Projects

Kris O'Dowd

Current PhD Student

The optimisation of the photo-Fenton Process for the removal of antimicrobial organisms from drinking water at neutral pH

Kris O’Dowd joined I.T. Sligo as a postgraduate working on the optimisation of the Photo-Fenton process for the removal of antimicrobial-resistant organisms from water.

He is in his first year of studies and is expected to finish in 2023. This research is part of the Horizon 2020 PANI-Water project that is focused on the photo-irradiation and novel based innovations for water treatment. The project aims to develop and validate prototypes for the removal of contaminants from wastewater and drinking water in peri-urban and rural areas in India. The photo-Fenton process is an advanced oxidation process that uses hydrogen peroxide, iron and light to create a hydroxyl radical. This nonselective radical has been used extensively in the breakdown of organic chemicals and is now being investigated for its use in the elimination of microorganisms. The research will focus on optimising a process that is traditionally used at an acidic pH, at a neutral pH to allow ease of use in rural communities.

Kris’s research will also investigate the toxicity and cytotoxicity of the process as well as solar water disinfection as part of the PANI-Water scheme. The PANI-water project is a multinational project encompassing 18 universities and colleges in both Europe and India to develop treatment methods for the removal of contaminants of emerging concern.

Kris obtained a B.Sc. (Hon) in Forensic investigation and analysis from I.T. Sligo, having previously completed a B.A. (Hon) in Geology at Trinity College Dublin. As part of his final year project, he investigated the use of Energy Dispersive X-Ray Fluorescence for the analysis of major, minor and trace elements in plastics and chemicals.

He was the winner of the Eurachem Analytical Measurement competition in 2017 representing I.T. Sligo as part of a two-person team.


Kris O’Dowd, Suresh Pillai, (2020) Photo-Fenton disinfection at near-neutral pH: Process, parameter optimization and recent advances, Journal of Environmental Chemical EngineeringVolume 8, Issue 5, October 2020, 104063