Students

Project ID:
Nationality:
Chinese
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

I obtained my master degree in environmental sciences in 2016 at Northwest A&F University, China. My master topic was titled “Effect of aging on the fraction and bioavailability of Selenium in soils”. Doing so, I obtained the “Graduate Nation Scholarship” and my thesis was rated “Excellent Master Thesis”. For now, I am a PhD Student in the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Gent University.

Short description of my topic:

My topic is titled: closing the micronutrient: exploration of micronutrient-rich bioproducts generated from wastewater as environmental-friendly micronutrient supplements and fertilizers. The objective of my project is to 1) develop and apply sustainable, biobased methods which are able to selectively remove essential trace elements from wastewaters and 2) test micronutrient-rich materials produced by these methods for their potential use as micronutrient fertilizer or food/feed supplement by studying the bioavailability and bioaccessibility of micronutrients contained in these products.

Project ID:
Nationality:
Filipino
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of the Philippines. Having taken some environmental science and sustainability courses in this program, I became interested in environmental issues, particularly those related to water pollution and remediation. This interest led me to obtain my Master’s degree in Environmental Sanitation from Ghent University in Belgium, where I worked with the removal of arsenic species from water using engineered nanoparticles encapsulated by novel classes of porous materials.

Short description of my topic:

The increasing demand for metals marked the tremendous growth of metal extraction and refining operations worldwide. This growth resulted in the discharge of large volumes of wastes containing significant amounts of metals that can still be recovered. Applying the conventional metal recovery processes to wastes, practical applications are limited by certain factors, such as economics. This led to the development of alternative processes, which include biosorption and bioleaching. Most bio-based processes, however, are still at the lab scale. Therefore, more studies are needed to design and optimize these processes for application on real waste streams. To do this, the development of a high throughput experimentation platform would be very advantageous. Thus, this research aims to set up and optimize a high throughput experimentation platform for biosorption and bioleaching of metals; and to apply this platform for selective recovery of technology-critical elements from industrial wastewaters and valuable metals from mine tailings.

Project ID:
ESR01
Nationality:
Chinese
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

My bachelor in Ecology in China Agricultural University helped me to develop molecular skills. Thereafter, I moved to the Netherlands to fulfill my master study in Environmental Science at Wageningen University. During my master thesis, I worked on chain elongation, a process that converts organic waste into valuable bulk chemicals with an open culture of microorganisms.
After my master study, I spent a few more months in WageningenUR as a research assistant on optimizing UASB-digester process for domestic waste water treatment at low temperature.

Short description of my topic:

My research topic is “Steering and enhancing medium chain fatty acids production via chain elongation from organic wastewater with electricity”. In this project, model-based approaches are combined with experimental work to develop a process that generates medium chain fatty acids from liquid organic streams, e.g. thin stillage, crude glycerol, and molasses. This is accomplished through fermentation coupled with electrochemical steering and extraction. Individual effects of steering and extraction will be investigated by experimental work. In general, this will contribute to the development of a model that can simulate electro-fermentation based on thermodynamics

Project ID:
ESR02
Nationality:
Ecuadorean
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

Master’s degree in Environmental Technology and Engineering (IMETE) from Unesco IHE, UCT Prague and Ghent University (2012-2014)
Thesis: Optimization of a two-stage fermentation process for PHB production

Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Universidad San Francisco de Quito (Ecuador) with a minor degree in Chemical Engineering (2006-2012)
Graduation project: Physicochemical treatment system for tannery effluents

Working experience as National/international Environmental Consultant, lecturer in Life Cycle Assessment, Field Engineer and Research Assistant

Short description of my topic:

Autogenerative High Pressure Anaerobic Digestion systems (AHPD) have been used to produce biogas with improved quality (90-95% methane content) and at a pressure suitable for high grade use. This technology has also proven to produce other metabolites (carboxylates), that by themselves or through further conversion, could be of interest for the chemical industry. It is expected that specific pressure effects influence the kinetics of mixed culture fermentations (e.g. role of the CO2 partial pressure) and eventually the product spectrum. This project aims to further address these effects and determine to what extent they can be exploited to improve the production yield and increase the selectivity of a HPD system for carboxylates production. The feasibility of treating simple and complex substrates, mechanisms for controlling the product spectrum as well as the requirements for process parameters optimization, reactor design and alternatives for downstream processing will be further addressed along the research.

Project ID:
ESR03
Nationality:
Colombian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

I was born and grew up in Medellín, an important city in Colombia. Since I was a child I have been inclined for nature, and due to my specific interests for living beings and technology, I studied biological engineering. Shortly after finishing my bachelor, I went abroad to study my master in Chile, where I learnt more about bioprocessing and environmental technology. At the same time I have been getting professional experience in different international and recognized research groups, I have been also enjoying my free time travelling and knowing new cultures.

 

Juan on Linkedin

Juan on Researchgate

Short description of my topic:

My research project is about to produce valuable biochemicals (e.g. polyhydroxyalkanoate, free carboxylates and muconic acid) using cultures of Pseudomonas sp. growing on aromatic waste streams in the anodic chamber of an electrochemical bioreactor. This project is intended to establish a novel bioelectrochemical production platform in the industrial biotechnological field. Wastewater streams coming from biomass fractionation processes are used as subtrate. Specifically, we will use waste streams generated during lignin depolymerization processes. These streams are considered diffciult to degrade as they contains a complex variety of aromatic compounds. Nevertheless, they can be catabolized and transformed into valuable products by some strains of Pseudomonas sp. In this way, it could be possible to contribute to the lignin valorization and stablish a more sutainable biotechnological process.

Project ID:
ESR04
Nationality:
Serbian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

Trace elements are crucial constituents of cofactors and enzymes, and as such, they affect metabolism of microorganisms in anaerobic reactors. In practice, trace elements are often present in sufficient amounts, but their uptake by microorganism may be hindered by low bioavailability. The objective of this topic is to find a way to determine if trace metal deficiency is present in an anaerobic reactor and if so, which metal(s) and in which amount should be supplemented. This will be done by measuring bioavailable fraction of trace metals and finding a relation between the fraction and the activity of the biomass. Furthermore, the possible solutions for overcoming potential deficiencies will be proposed.

Short description of my topic:

Trace elements are crucial constituents of cofactors and enzymes, and as such, they affect metabolism of microorganisms in anaerobic reactors. In practice, trace elements are often present in sufficient amounts, but their uptake by microorganism may be hindered by low bioavailability. The objective of this topic is to determine the trace elements deficiency in anaerobic membrane bioreactor for wastewater treatment. Moreover, we will study also trace elements limitation in the post-treatment of anaerobic effluent, i.e. during nitrogen removal. The expected deficiencies will be determined in respect to metal bioavailability and speciation in both liquid and solid phase. Furthermore, the possible solutions for overcoming potential deficiencies will be proposed.

Project ID:
ESR05
Nationality:
Belarusian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

After I got my master degree in civil engineering in Belarus (2009), I obtained a second Master in Europe (JEMES program, 2011) concerning environmental engineering. Thereafter, I was employed as chief process engineer of Minsk wastewater treatment plant at the unitary enterprise of Minskvadakanal, where I used to work about 5 years until September, 2016. Among my hobbies are swimming (mainly, in the sea), travelling, photographing, reading books (Bradbery), learning languages.

Short description of my topic:

I will study and characterise the anaerobic digestion processes of wastewater sludge in mesophilic and thermophilic temperature conditions: the main objects of study are biogas, digestate and supernatant. There will be not only the methane production and methane production rate measured and evaluated, but also other conditions (organic loading rate, pH, alkalinity, total suspended solids, volatile suspended solids and others). After some batch tests done, the experimental set-up will be operated with different conditions applied.
Based on the data, the life cycle assessment of, at least, two scenarios will be studied and energy effectiveness will be assessed.

Project ID:
ESR06
Nationality:
Ethiopia
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

At Jimma University, Ehtiopia, I graduated in mechanical engineering (bachelor degree – 2010)  and in sustainable energy engineering (master degree - 2014). I worked as assistant lecturer (2010-2014) and lecturer (2014-2016) positions at Jimma university. Since October 2016,I am a PhD student and scholarship recipient of the super-W European joint doctoral training program, combining positions both at Ghent University and Technical University of Delft for the next three years.

Short description of my topic:

My PhD topic is titled: model-based knowledge buildup of mixing behavior in anaerobic digesters in view of maximizing performance. Anaerobic digesters (AD) at full scale often do not reach their full potential of biogas production. It is postulated that this is caused in large extent due to incomplete mixing, resulting in heterogeneities and stratification, thus inducing reduced performance.  Dedicated rheological and density experiments with AD influent, sludge and mixtures will be performed as well as at different locations in AD.  This will lead to new process insight and is to be used as input in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The modelling work will be initiated by studying the behavior of Anaerobic Digestion Model 1 (ADM1) in conjunction with a continuous stirred tanks (CSTR) and Tanks-in-series (TIS) approach. Next, a CFD model will be developed to model hydrodynamics full scale AD reactors of different design to optimize the mixer impeller (blade number, speed, position, and etc.). Computed CFD is used to derive a more accurate compartmental model (CM) based on velocity patterns. This work lead to process insight and potential actions for process optimization. The optimal CM needs to be translated into an AD and a mixer design. The ADM1 model will be linked to frozen CFD solutions to get an idea about the impact of incomplete mixing on the distribution of different process rates in the reactor and the possible occurrence of stratification or even short-circuiting. 

Project ID:
ESR07
Nationality:
Iranian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

After my bachelor in science in chemical engineering in Iran, I finished my master in science in chemical and process engineering at the university of Bologna, Italy. I did my master thesis on ”phosphate removal of wastewater by ion exchange membrane: a numerical and experimental study” at the Delft university of technology. I am familiar with different separation processes. In my spare time, I like reading books, playing football and hanging out with friends.

Short description of my topic:

Forward Osmosis (FO) process in water and wastewater treatment has been attracted a huge attention recently, mainly due to its low energy consumption. The distinguishing feature of FO compared to other membrane-based filtrations is the use of osmotic pressure difference as the main driving force for water permeation through a semi-permeable membrane. FO performances heavily depend on membrane (bio)fouling and scaling. Cell geometry, feed and product spacers, type of draw solute and other operation conditions could significantly affect (bio)fouling and scaling behaviour. Due to complexity of system, containing different types of fouling, a numerical model is necessary in order to recognize the quantitative effect of different parameters on the membrane performance. The aim of this project is to implement the numerical models to simulate and predict (bio)fouling behaviour and effect of different parameters on FO performance. 

Project ID:
ESR08
Nationality:
Iranian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

After receiving his Bachelors of Science from Sharif University of Technology (Tehran, Iran) in Chemical Engineering, Kazem moved to Bologna, Italy to continue his studies at Alma mater Studiorum- University of Bologna. He finished his master degree in ‘Sustainable technologies for environment’ with a thesis on ‘Affinity chromatography membranes’.

Kazem has joined the PaInT (particle and interfacial technologies) group of Ghent university in 2016 to work on the project ‘Novel Nano-Filtration membranes for selective separation of organics and inorganics’, a project funded by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Marie-Curie ITN network SuPER-W.    

 

Kazem on Linkedin

Kazem on Researchgate

 

 

Short description of my topic:

Selective separation of Inorganic salts and organic matter has a wide variety of applications ranging from drinking water purification to industrial wastewater treatment and desalination. In this context, The present study aims at developing novel Nano-filtration (NF) membranes as energy efficient and flexible alternatives to address this need.

Project ID:
ESR09
Nationality:
Philippines
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of the Philippines and gained experience working in wastewater treatment plants, electrochemical plating industry and the academia. The realization of the growing environmental issues enthused me to pursue my master´s degree in Environmental Sanitation in Ghent Belgium.  It is my goal to help strengthen research linkages among the industry and the academe to come up with practical solutions to some of the pressing environmental problems.

Short description of my topic:

The goal of my PhD project is to contribute on the improvement of sustainability of the metals supply by developing strategies for selective removal and recovery of valuable metals from a number of industrial wastewaters with a focus on biosorption.  A high throughput experimentation platform will be used to speed up the valorization of the screening process to come up with a database of potential biosorbents/adsorbents and their optimum sorption conditions. Surface modification of the biosorbents will also be studied for the enhancement of adsorption performance.  Derived data will be used to examine the potential of selective recovery of metals from wastewaters as well as to derive predictive models for the adsorption of metals on promising biosorbents. Other possible technologies like electrochemical and membrane removal will also be explored and together with biosorption, will be validated using actual industrial wastewater streams.

Project ID:
ESR10
Nationality:
Iranian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

Education

  • 2014 – 2016: UNESCO-IHE, UCT Prague, Gent University, International master of science in environmental technology and engineering (IMETE)
    Diploma thesis: “Detailed characterization of municipal wastewater pretreated in AnMBR”
  • 2007-2010: Allameh Tabatabaie University, Theran-Iran, Master of science in regional development planning
    Diploma thesis: “Evaluation of spatial inequalities in access to energy in Iran using ArcGIS ”
  • 2001 – 2006: Amirkabir university of technology, Tehran-Iran, Bachelor of science in chemical engineering
    Diploma thesis: “Simulation of convection heat transfer inside the solids with C#”

Work

  • 2007-2014: working as process engineer in the field of water and wastewater treatment, utilities and power plants, in three Iranian oil and gas company
Short description of my topic:

Hydrogen sulfide as a toxic gas is formed during anaerobic treatment of sulfate-containing wastewater. Deterioration of biogas quality, inhibition of methane formation and corrosion of downstream facilities are some of the problems associated with hydrogen sulfide. Therefore, minimizing the hydrogen sulfide content of the anaerobic bioreactors and controlling its emission with biogas is necessary. 

Micro-aeration as the controlled dosing of a small amount of air into the anaerobic reactor to promote H2S oxidation, is a simple process that has been demonstrated to reach high H2S removal efficiencies. By this, sulfides are oxidized mainly biologically to elemental sulfur. Nevertheless, several challenges are still associated with the micro-aeration processes, such as a lack of knowledge regarding the exact chemical and biological processes contribution to the micro-aeration effect; their mechanisms; fate of produced elemental sulfur; effect of operational conditions like hydro dynamics, reactor geometry, etc. A better understanding of these effects will result in efficient online control strategies to minimize the undesired effects and optimize this process.  This PhD project aims to tackle these challenges through several short-term and long-term lab-scale and full-scale experiments. Moreover, a mathematical model will be set up to design appropriate control strategies and increase process efficiency.

Project ID:
ESR11
Nationality:
Iranian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

Both my bachelor and master programs were fulfilled at the best technical university of Iran, called Sharif University of Technology. “Simulation and Optimization of Dry air in a Membrane Humidifier” and “Evaluation of Highly Concentrated Phenolic Wastewater Treatment in a Membrane Biological Reactor (MBR)” were my bachelor and master thesis subjects, respectively. I managed to acquire and develop skills both in the theoretical and experimental dimensions of my field of expertise  

Short description of my topic:

Micro-pollutants (MPs), meaning organic chemicals at trace concentration, have introduced themselves as a new emerging challenge. Pharmaceuticals are the main group of MPs and appear persistent to biological treatment, and conventional wastewater treatment methods are unable to remove them properly. Therefore, the necessity of a highly effective physicochemical method that is adaptable to conventional systems is imperative. Regarding this target, Electro-Fenton (EF) process—a synergy of electrical energy and chemical reactions—is occurring to mind as a strong oxidative method by forming the brutal hydroxyl radicals. However high efficiency at acidic pH (around 3) and produced iron sludge have made it impractical for real-life condition and should be addressed.
Therefore, the main objective of this PhD project is to develop an innovative process that is economically justifiable, efficiently effective, practically hybridizable, and environmentally friendly.

Project ID:
ESR12
Nationality:
Austrian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

At BOKU University, Vienna,  I specialized myself in Ecological Engineering and wrote a master thesis about an innovative two-stage vertical flow constructed wetland (CW) in the alpine region of Austria. Subsequently, I coordinated a research project at the world’s largest industrial CW, which treats oil produced water in the desert of Oman. In the super-W project, my CW experience will be combined with the exciting field of bio-electrochemical systems (BES).

 

Marco on Linkedin

Marco on Researchgate

Short description of my topic:

The overall PhD’s objective is to provide sustainable wastewater treatment in rural areas by combining CWs with BES and recover valuable resources by doing so. CW are an economic and ecologic alternative for conventional wastewater treatment in small settlements and will be the main technology assessed in combination with BES - particularly Microbial Fuel Cells (MFC’s) and Microbial Electrolysis Cells (MEC’s). In MFC’s and MEC’s, active bacteria break down and remove organic matter from the wastewater while producing electricity. When incorporated in a CW, these BES can increase the treatment efficiency and thereby reduce the area required for purification. BES might also used as a biosensor, for example, to monitor the content of organic matter and other biologically active compounds throughout the CW system.

Project ID:
ESR13
Nationality:
Brazilian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

As an environmental engineer, graduated from São Paulo State University, I worked in industry for three years in Brazil before starting my master program in environmental eechnology and engineering in Europe. During my master thesis I was involved in experimental and modelling studies on wastewater treatment using algal-bacterial biomass, with focus on water and energy recovery. Thereafter, I did an internship at the International Water Association (IWA) on global sanitation and water safety.

Short description of my topic:

My research topic is "Optimization of algae-based wastewater treatment systems towards enhanced water reuse and recovery of microalgae for biogas and high value compounds production". The use of algal-bacterial biomass for wastewater treatment has already been proven to be an effective alternative to shift the paradigm from wastewater treatment to resources recovery. The positive interactions are clear when microalgae provide, through photosynthesis, the oxygen necessary for aerobic bacteria to biodegrade organic pollutants, consuming in turn the carbon dioxide released from the bacterial activity. The main objectives of this research are: to investigate the performance of high rate algal ponds (HRAPs) under different operational conditions; to study the techniques to recover high-value phycochemicals from microalgae biomass; to analyse the economic feasibility and sustainability of algae-based wastewater treatment through Life cycle assessment (LCA) and Life cycle costing (LCC); and perform modelling studies on the performance of HRAPs treating wastewater.

Project ID:
ESR14
Nationality:
German
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

As an environmental management and environmental science student I discovered early, that the complexity of the water cycle fascinates me. In addition, I developed a great interest in circular economy related topics and started to explore resource recovery for value creation from organic waste streams. Doing research on wastewater related concepts that promote the recovery of energy, materials and products is the perfect symbiosis of these two exciting topics.

Short description of my topic:

Urbanization, as a major and continuing megatrend implies that large quantities of wastewater are generated in cities and accumulate a variety of different substances. The PhD project aims for supporting the design and development of more sustainable wastewater management strategies that are based on a resource recovery perspective. Conventional and innovative wastewater treatment technologies can promote value creation and contribute to sustainable development if wastewater derived products can become re-integrated into existing material and energy flows. In this context, a strategical framework that provides guidance to exploit the resource recovery potential of existing urban wastewater systems is needed. In addition, bottlenecks for the implementation of innovative wastewater resource recovery pathways shall be revealed like e.g. economic constraints or social acceptance barriers for recoverable products.

Project ID:
ESR15
Nationality:
Belgian
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

I hold one master degree in international relations and one in conflict & development in the Global South. After those studies I worked for two years in a social enterprise focused on thrift stores. Today, I am affiliated with the Centre for Sustainable Development (Ghent University) and Biotechnology & Society (TU Delft). My project concentrates on a political analysis of the Dutch and Belgian wastewater systems and, in particular, their transitions towards the circular economy. To do so I draw on literature on sustainability transitions and interpretive and qualitative methods.

Short description of my topic:
Project ID:
ESR16
Nationality:
Chinese
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

I obtained my bachelor and master degree of environment science in 2016 and 2019, respectively, at Northwest A&F University, China. My master thesis topic is “Effect of aging on the fraction and bioavailability of Selenium in soils”. During my master period, I obtained the “Graduate Nation Scholarship” and the master thesis got the “Excellent Master Thesis” which only have 20 candidates in the whole university. After graduation, I have a strong interest in selenium recovery from wastewater. Because of this, I decide to start a PhD for further study. 

Short description of my topic:

My PhD topic is “closing the micronutrient: exploration of micronutrient-rich bioproducts generated from wastewater as environmental-friendly micronutrient supplements and fertilizers”. The objective of my project is to 1) develop and apply sustainable, biobased methods which are able to selectively remove essential trace elements from wastewaters and 2) test micronutrient-rich materials produced by these methods for their potential use as micronutrient fertilizer or food/feed supplement by studying the bioavailability and bioaccessibility of micronutrients contained in these products.

 

Project ID:
ESR17
Nationality:
Filipino
Short CV / biography / description of scientific focus and achievements:

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of the Philippines. Having taken some environmental science and sustainability courses in this program, I became interested in environmental issues, particularly those related to water pollution and remediation. This interest led me to obtain my Master’s degree in Environmental Sanitation from Ghent University in Belgium, where I worked with the removal of arsenic species from water using engineered nanoparticles encapsulated by novel classes of porous materials. This research made me aim to explore more about adsorption and desorption processes, specifically their application in the recovery of metals from wastes.  

Short description of my topic:

The increasing demand for metals marked the tremendous growth of metal extraction and refining operations worldwide. This growth resulted in the discharge of large volumes of wastes containing significant amounts of metals that can still be recovered. Applying the conventional metal recovery processes to wastes, practical applications are limited by certain factors, such as economics, production of atmospheric pollutants, and loss of metals during combustion. These limitations led to the development of alternative metal recovery processes, which include bioleaching and biosorption. Most bio-based processes, however, are still at the lab scale. Therefore, more studies are needed to design and optimize these bio-based processes, focusing on alternative applications, such as selective recovery of valuable metals and exploration of hybrid technologies. To do this, the development of a high throughput experimentation platform would be very advantageous. Thus, this research aims to set up and optimize a high throughput experimentation platform for biosorption and bioleaching of metals; and to apply this platform for selective recovery of technology-critical elements from industrial wastewaters and valuable metals from mine tailings.