Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information

Isabel Schestak    



Room Details

Thoday Building, Room F2

Project Website


BSc and MSc in Technical Biology, University of Stuttgart, Germany

PhD Title (or subject area)

Environmental Impact Assessment in the water value chain


Dr David Styles and Dr Prysor Williams

Research Area and Supervision

Environmental impact assessment in the water value chain: strategies for low-carbon water use in the food and drink sector in the UK and Ireland

This PhD research is embedded in the cross boarder project Dŵr Uisce between Bangor University and Trinity College Dublin, funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Cooperation programme. The project aims to improve the long-term sustainability of the water value chain which includes fresh water supply and treatment, end use and waste water treatment in Ireland and Wales. This will be achieved by the development of new low carbon, energy-saving technologies, by cross-sectoral auditing and benchmarking, economic and environmental impact assessment and by delivering best-practice guidelines.

The focus of my research is the recovery of energy from waste and process water. Through the application of Life Cycle Assessment methodology, different options for heat recovery from waste and process water are assessed in order to identify the most environmentally beneficial applications and design options. The methodology is applied to case studies predominantly from the food and drink sector. It is the aim of this research to propose suitable water and energy saving measures and also facilitate their application through an open-access eco-design toolkit for private and professional stakeholders from the food and drink industry.


My academic career started with a BSc in Technical Biology at the University of Stuttgart in Germany. The research of my Bachelor’s Thesis, which I carried out during a stay at Emory University in Atlanta/GA, USA, focused on a very biological topic: the mechanisms of the Measles Virus when entering a human cell. It was an internship in a company developing bio-based and bio-degradable plastics (Novamont SpA, Novara, Italy) which laid the foundation to my interest in bioeconomy and environmental issues. During my Masters, even though still under the title Technical Biology, my research focus shifted direction towards waste water and solid waste treatment, resources and environmental management. For my Master’s Thesis I examined the environmental impacts of producing a biological surfactant through a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). I also worked as a student researcher at Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics in Stuttgart at the Department Life Cycle Engineering, gaining insight into many aspects of Life Cycle Assessment and circular economy thinking. This PhD project gives me the opportunity to transfer my skills in life cycle modelling to a different, research area, the life cycle of water.


BSc and MSc in Technical Biology, University of Stuttgart, Germany


Schestak I, Spriet J, Styles D and Williams AP, 2020. Emissions down the drain: Balancing life cycle energy and greenhouse gas savings with resource use for heat recovery from kitchen drains. Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 271, 1 October 2020, 110988

Lindner JP, Schestak I, Bos U, Zibek S, Brandstetter P. LCA of laboratory-scale production of mannosylerythritol lipids. Book of Abstracts, 10th International Conference on Life Cycle Assessment of Food 2016, pp. 1081-1089

Brindley MA, Suter R, Schestak I, Kiss G, Wright ER, Plemper RK. A stabilized headless measles virus attachment protein stalk efficiently triggers membrane fusion. J Virol. 2013 Nov; 87(21):11693-703.


  • Dwr Uisce Project Conference, Dublin/Ireland, 23 October 2018. Oral presentation. Drain Water Heat Recovery in commercial kitchens: The case of Penrhyn Castle, Wales.
  • Industrial Water Conference, Frankfurt/Germany, 27-29 November 2018. Poster presentation. Life Cycle Assessment of an in-line heat exchanger for heat recovery from drain water in a commercial kitchen.
  • 10th IWA Specialist Conference on Efficient Urban Water Management, Manila/Philippines, 13-16 January 2019. Oral Presentation. GHG emissions from water use in UK manufacturing sector.
  • 12th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse, Berlin/Germany, 16-20 June 2019. Poster presentation and poster pitch. Environmental sustainability of heat recovery systems using drain water from commercial kitchens.
  • Eco-I 2019 Conference on Innovation for Clean and Sustainable Growth, Lancaster/UK, 19-20 September 2019. Oral presentation. Can we recover heat from commercial kitchens’ drain water in a sustainable way?
  • 14th Conference on Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES), Dubrovnik/Croatia, 1-6 October 2019. Oral presentation. Life Cycle Assessment of heat recovery systems for use with drain water from commercial kitchens.