Master students win Water Technology Awards

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Every year, the Flanders water technology network Watercircle.be awards young engineers for the innovative research they have conducted in their master dissertations, having promising potential for the water industry. This year (2017-2018), CMET’s Jorien Favere won the first prize on research concerning “Flow cytometric microbial monitoring for safeguarding drinking water quality”, and PaInT’s Joke Van Severen won the third prize with “Treatment of the brine waste stream of an anion exchanger used for DOC removal”.

Both of these works are the result of successful collaborations between Ghent University and the drinking water sector.

Jorien could demonstrate the benefits of flow cytometric monitoring to manage DC Water’s drinking water network in Washington, DC, USA. Together with the CAPTURE Water partners Pidpa and FARYS she studied the microbial water quality in water towers and examined microbial regrowth in real-time. The online application allows to follow up changes in the microbial water quality more accurately and to react much faster to changing operational conditions and events. In the coming years, the research team has the ambition to develop an early-warning system for the water industry. Jorien was guided by her promotors Prof. Nico Boon and Prof. Bart De Gusseme and her tutors Haydee De Clippeleir (R&D DC Water), Koen Joris (Pidpa) and Benjamin Buysschaert (R&D FARYS). Her research was supported by the IMPROVED project, subvented by The interreg V “Vlaanderen-Nederland” program.

Joke conducted research on Natural Organic Matter removal from the spent brine originating from an ion exchanger used in drinking water production for Dissolved Organic Carbon removal. In this research, special attention has to be taken towards an important zero liquid discharge constraint, implying on-site treatment of the spent brine. First of all, Joke looked into optimization of spent brine coagulation, being the current state-of-the-art technology for efficiently removing NOM, and allowing the on-site reuse of salts for next resin regeneration. Secondly, she investigated an innovative technology for selectively removing humic substances from the spent brine, therefore also allowing recovery and reuse of these substances in different industrial sectors. Joke was guided by her promotor Klaas Schoutteten (UGent, KWR and De Watergroep), and her research was supported by the DOC2Cs project, under the interreg 2 seas program.