Fellows

ESR 1 Antonia Hadjimicael

ESR1 Antonia Hadjimichael copyName: Antonia
Surname: Hadjimichael
Nationality: Cyprus
Current e-mail: antonia.hadjimichael @ lequia.udg.edu
Host institution: University of Girona
Department: Lequia
Name of supervisor: Dr. Joaquim Comas
About me
My previous training

  • I obtained my first degree in Mathematics at the University of Leicester and my desire to channel my mathematical skills into more practical, real-world problem solving led me to the completion of an MSc in Environmental Modelling at University College London.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • The SANITAS project combines two things that I have always been very interested in: doing something beneficial for both the society and the environment and gaining diverse experiences from different cultures and parts of the world. This project gives me the opportunity to do both, firstly, working in the sustainable management of UWS and collaborating and networking with international scientists and professionals.
About my research project
The technology applied to UWS is constantly evolving in parallel to the continuous changes in societal and economical norms and the relevant legislation demanding higher standards from UWS. The main aim of my project is to develop an Environmental Decision Support System (EDSS) to help assess the possible impacts of any future modifications to UWS under different scenarios concerning different models or technologies and different standards set upon the system. This will be carried out using various environmental, social and economic indicators to evaluate the impact.
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ESR 2 Julian Mamo

ESR2 Julian MamoName: Julian
Surname: Mamo
Nationality: Malta
Current e-mail: julian.mamo @ lequia.udg.cat
Host institution: University of Girona
Department: Lequia
Name of supervisor: Dr. Joaquim Comas, Dr Ignasi Rodriguez-Roda
About me
My previous training

  • I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Malta and later obtained a master’s degree from Cranfield University in the UK. For five years I worked as a project engineer in the field of desalination and wastewater reuse where I worked on the design and testing of SWRO systems and the testing of pilot equipment involving oxidation processes for the reuse of treated wastewater effluent.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • Having experience with RO and water reuse, and having lived and worked in a semi-arid environment, have made me understand the importance of water reuse as an essential component of a country’s water supply, This has made the prospect of carrying out research on Integrated Membrane Systems (IMS) for water reuse very attractive to me. Sanitas will allow me not only to be part of the LEQUIA research group working on Integrated Membrane Systems but also give me the opportunity to work with other leading research groups and industry working in this field around Europe.
About my research project
The coupling of MBR and RO/NF membrane processes has been proven to be a robust and reliable solution for producing high quality recycled water for reuse applications such as potable reuse through the recharging of aquifers or augmenting surface water supplies. The fouling of membranes together with the energy and chemical costs associated with the processes remain the limiting factors of this otherwise very attractive process for water reclamation.
The research objectives of the project are to reduce energy requirements of the Integrated Membrane Process through the assessment of RO/NF fouling mitigation strategies together with the development of a control system for the integrated control of the filtration and biological processes involved to minimize the total water cost. Another major drawback of NF/RO processes is the disposal of concentrate and this project will also assess the feasibility of recirculating this concentrate back to the MBR through the use of advanced oxidation processes. The fate of pharmaceuticals, microbiological indicators and disinfection by products will also be assessed throughout the various phases of the project.
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ESR 3 Lara Paulo

ESR3 Laura Paulo copyName: Lara
Surname: Paulo
Nationality: Portuguese
Current e-mail: Lara.paulo @ wur.nl
Host institution: Wageningen University
Department: Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group
Name of supervisor: Prof. Dr. Fons Stams
About me
My previous training

  • Integrated Master in Biological Engineering by Instituto Superior Técnico.
  • Fellow Researcher from 01/2009 to 03/2012 at the Metalloproteins and Bioenergetics Unit  at Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica
  • Fellow Researcher from 04/2012 to 08/2012 at the Protein and Nucleic Acids Interactions Group at Instituto Gulbenkian para a Ciência

My motivation to join SANITAS

SANITAS project gave me the opportunity to work again in an area that I love, bioremediation, and associated with my engineering background. It also opened the door for an international career and to meet new places, new people, new cultures, different ways of doing science. I hope that the competences that I will obtain would allow me to pursue successfully a career, either academic or industry focused  as a water professional.

About my research project
Microorganisms are very versatile and they are able to use different compounds to grow, some of them toxic to us or to nature, converting them in more simple things, like methane. Methane is a gas that we can use as a renewable energy. The process of methane formation is complex and can be affect by several things. During my project I will try to understand better how some things like heavy metals (like zinc, nickel) or compounds that are known to be toxic can affect the process, in a good or bad away, how can we improve it and if we can associate a profitable biogas formation to the degradation of some of these compounds that are toxic to the environment.
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ESR 4 Fanlin Meng

ESR4 Fanlin Meng copyName: Fanlin Meng
Surname: Meng
Nationality: Chinese
Current e-mail: F.Meng @ exeter.ac.uk
Host institution: University of Exeter
Department: College of Engineering
Name of supervisor: Prof. David Butler, Dr. Guangtao Fu
About me
My previous training

  • 2009-2012: Tsinghua University, Master of Engineering, Environmental Engineering
  • 2005-2009: Shandong University, Bachelor of Engineering, Environmental Engineering

My motivation to join SANITAS

Water quality is a key environmental issue throughout the world. A good consenting policy, which effectively regulates the discharge of sewage, could help improve the water environment. So the research topic of exploring innovative consenting approach in SANITAS interests me greatly. Besides, the European-wide training in the technical and complementary skills will assist my research.

About my research project
The Water Framework Directive imposes more stringent requirements for sewage discharged from wastewater treatment plants. Instead of upgrading the treatment facilities to deal with the challenge, we try to explore a more cost-effective approach of using the dynamic diluting capacity of the receiving water body and real-time control of the urban wastewater system. The advantages and disadvantages of the innovative approach would be investigated, and its impact on the existing consenting policy would be identified.
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ESR 5a Elissavet Kassotaki

 Name: Elissavet
 Surname: Kassotaki
 Nationality:  Italy
 Current e-mail: ekassotaki@icra.cat
 Host institution: Catalan Institute for Water  Research (ICRA)
 Name of supervisor: Dr. Gianluigi Buttiglieri
About me
My previous training

My interest in environmental issues, led me to obtain my BSc in Environmental Engineering, at Democritus University of Thrace, Greece. Keeping moving towards this direction, while taking into account public health issues, i obtained my MSc in Environmental and Sanitary Engineering, at Technical University of Crete, Greece. During my master studies, as well as afterwards, I worked as a Research Assistant on EU funded programs, and also as a Compiler of Environmental Impact Assessments.

My motivation to join SANITAS

Joining SANITAS, meant joining a group of dynamic researchers with whom I believe we share the same vision. This includes, using the available technological knowledge in order to provide and implement innovative solutions which could lead to environmental sustainability and public health protection. For this reason, being part of this team where I could contribute with my ideas and expertise, while simultaneously consolidating my knowledge and skills, was a great opportunity. Additionally, the mobility to other research institutions, the possibility to attend specialized workshops, and the collaboration with so many people of different backgrounds and cultures was another interesting and highly promising asset of this project.

About my research project
Chemical pollution of long lasting compounds in water bodies has been identified within the top ten environmental concerns of the 21st century. The effect of persistent chemical compounds, such as pharmaceuticals (PhC) or endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in our water bodies offers an ecotoxicological concern. Since most WWTP are not designed to remove these compounds, their treatment performances are often limited. The objective of this project is to investigate and elucidate the parameters that regulate the biodegradation and removal mechanisms of target micropollutants in order to develop the basis for the implementation of new technologies to upgrade our existing treatment systems and avoid the release of these contaminants into the environment.
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ESR 5a Lucia Gusmaroli

Lucia Gusmaroli
 Name: Lucia
 Surname: Gusmaroli
 Nationality:  Italy
 Current e-mail: lucia.gusmaroli@gmail.com
 Host institution: Catalan Institute for Water  Research (ICRA)
 
Name of supervisor: Dr. Gianluigi Buttiglieri
About me
  • My previous training
  • I obtained a BSc in chemistry at University of Pavia, my hometown, and later graduated from a MSc in chemistry with specialization in analytical chemistry. I also spent 6 months at Universitat de Girona, Spain, within the Erasmus project framework, for my final master project. During my stay at the UdG I started growing an interest in environmental issues, especially those related to wastewater treatment.
  • My motivation to join SANITAS
  • Studying pharmaceuticals biodegradation in activated sludge systems gives me the opportunity to learn something new every day. My background in chemistry completes and perfectly integrates with the environmental engineering skills that I am acquiring day by day, making me able to get the whole picture. This is what I like about SANITAS: it builds a network of people sharing different knowledges and walking towards the same – big – goal.
About my research project
I continue the work in ESR5a project, studying the effect of persistent chemical compounds, such as pharmaceuticals (PhC) or endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in our water bodies offers an ecotoxicological concern. Since most WWTP are not designed to remove these compounds, their treatment performances are often limited. The objective of this project is to investigate and elucidate the parameters that regulate the biodegradation and removal mechanisms of target micropollutants in order to develop the basis for the implementation of new technologies to upgrade our existing treatment systems and avoid the release of these contaminants into the environment.
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ESR 5b Joana Batista

ESR5b Joana Batista copyName: Joana
Surname: Batista
Nationality: Portuguese
Current e-mail: Joana.batista @ gmail.com
Host institution: ICRA
Department: Technology and Evaluation
Name of supervisor: Dr. Oriol Gutierrez
About me
My previous training

  • My background is Biological Engineering. I completed my studies in Lisbon, my home town. I divided my Master studies between IST Lisbon, Portugal and TU Delft, Holland. When I finished I started working in a water treatment company.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • When I found out about SANITAS projects I thought it was good opportunity to deepen and broaden my knowledge in water treatment. It was a holistic project in wastewater treatment management and at the same time I could meet and work with different people and professionals from other cultures and backgrounds.
About my research project
In the urban areas there is a sewer city underneath our feet. This pipelines transport the sewage water from our houses to a Waste Water Treatment Plant. The sewage water is full of organic matter, which is used by bacteria and other microorganisms to obtain energy they need for living. It is a biochemical reaction. Due to the lack of oxygen in the sewers, some products such as hydrogen sulphide and methane are likely to be formed. They are dissolved in the water but as soon as an air space exists in the sewers, these two compounds are released to the atmosphere. Hydrogen sulphide is responsible for the malodour and pipe corrosion. Methane is a green house gas. The amount of these gases increases at high temperature and dry weather conditions, as it happens in the Mediterranean areas (my case study). The main task of the project is to monitor hydrogen sulphide and methane in order to find the best control strategy to decrease their presence in sewers liquid phase.
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ESR 6 Usman Rehman

ESR6 Usman Rehman copyName: Usman
Surname: Rehman
Nationality: Pakistani
Current e-mail: usman.rehman @ ugent.be
Host institution: Gent University
Department: Department of Bio-Science Engineering
Name of supervisor: Prof. Ingmar Nopens
About me
My previous training

  • I have completed my MSc. in Innovative and Sustainable Chemical Engineering from Chalmers University of technology, Sweden. Before this, I did my Bachelors in Chemical Engineering in Pakistan.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • SANITAS offers all the opportunities for personal development and be part of a truly International project. My IRP includes implementing advance techniques and tools for the good of environment and that has been my major motivation. Moreover, UGent along with my secondments (ACCIONA & UdG) provide platform to nourish my skills.
About my research project
My research project is about modelling greenhouse gas emissions from a waste water treatment plant by integrating CFD models with bio-kinetic models. A WWTP is a major source of nitrous oxide emissions and project aims at modelling and devising mitigation strategies for these emissions. Project also includes experiments on full scale WWTP. Therefore, complete model of the WWTP will be validated with the experimental results. Experiments will mainly include velocity measurements, local concentrations and off-gas (emissions) conc. measurements.
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ESR 7 Ramesh Saagi

ESR7 ramesh_saagi copyName: Ramesh
Surname: Saagi
Nationality: Indian
Current e-mail: ramesh.saagi @ iea.lth.se
Host institution: Lund University
Department: MIE
Name of supervisor: Dr. Ulf Jeppsson
About me
  • I come from a coastal city called Vizag in the southern part of India.  I did my bachelors in Biotechnology and later moved to the exciting field of Environmental Engineering. I always wanted to enjoy my work. This made me choose research as a career. I watch movies (a lot) and also love food.

My previous training

  • I obtained my Master’s degree from Universität Stuttgart in Environmental Engineering (Year 2012).

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • International exposure, opportunity to work in a very interesting field (modelling of wastewater treatment plants) and also to get that Dr. tag before my nam.
About my research project
Benchmark simulation model is a software tool that helps to compare different ways of controlling a wastewater treatment plant. The model basically has a computer code that tells (approximately) how a wastewater treatment plant would behave in reality. My research project is about extending this model to include how the catchments, sewer system and rivers behave. If I can successfully combine them with the existing model (and other additions that Kim and Laura are working on), this can provide us more information and also allow us to study control options in a larger scale (Not just in the wastewater treatment plant but in the whole urban water system).
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ESR 8 Kimberly Solon

ESR8 Kimberly SolonName: Kimberly
Surname: Solon
Nationality: Filipino
Current e-mail: kimberly.solon @ iea.lth.se
Host institution: Lund University
Department: Department of Measurement Technology and Industrial Electrical Engineering (MIE)
Name of supervisor: Dr. Ulf Jeppsson
About me
My previous training

  • I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of the Philippines, and my Master’s degree in Environmental Sanitation from Ghent University in Belgium.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • The research project I am now working with fits perfectly with my interest: modelling and control of wastewater treatment systems. In addition to doing research on a very interesting topic, I also have the opportunities to pursue a PhD degree, have mobility to other research institutions, take part in specialized trainings, and network and collaborate with leading experts in the same field.
About my research project
To improve the performance of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), different control strategies can be applied (e.g. controlling the dissolved oxygen and nitrate level in bioreactors). But before adapting a specific control strategy, simulations can first be performed to determine which would optimize the WWTP performance in terms of effluent quality, operational costs, and other applicable criteria (a procedure termed as “benchmarking”). My task is to develop an enhanced benchmark system for control strategy development and objective evaluation of WWTPs. This will be done by extending an existing model through inclusion of new processes such as reject wastewater treatment, inclusion of a plant-wide pH model, and process descriptions for phosphorus, sulphur, inorganic material and other relevant variables.
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ESR 9 Laura Snip

ESR 9 Laura SnipName: Laura
Surname: Snip
Nationality: Dutch
Current e-mail: lasn @ kt.dtu.dk
Host institution: DTU
Department: Process, Chemical Engineering
Name of supervisor: Prof. Krist Gernaey
About me
My previous training

  • I obtained my Bachelors and my Masters degree in Environmental Technology at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. I included a minor in Systems and Control in my Master degree. For this minor I had an thesis at Laval Université under the supervision of Peter Vanrolleghem. It was about modelling greenhouse gas emissions of wastewater treatment plants.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • The project of SANITAS in which I’m currently involved is an extension of the work I did in the thesis project at Laval Université. The project combines practical work with modelling of systems, which I found attractive. Also I liked the idea that the results of the PhD, evaluation tools for a wastewater treatment plant, are applicable in the ‘real’ world.
About my research project
As each existing wastewater treatment plant has different characteristics (f.e. influent flow, volume etc.) it is not easy to compare them. The benchmark simulation model  makes it possible to compare the plants. However this model is not yet completed. With the increasing awareness of global warming also wastewater treatment plants should try to minimize their greenhouse gases. Not all possible sources of N2O are included in the model. As this is a 300 times more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2 it is very important to include it, in order to come up with operation conditions to decrease the emissions of N2O. Also nowadays more micropollutants can be detected in wastewater. This is also going to be included in the model.
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ESR 10 Celia María Castro Barros

ESR 10 Celia María Castro BarrosName: Celia María
Surname: Castro Barros
Nationality: Spanish
Current e-mail: celiamaria.castrobarros @ ugent.be
Host institution: Ghent University
Department: Biosystems Engineering
Name of supervisor: Eveline Volcke
About me
My previous training

  • I completed a Higher Degree in Chemical Engineering at the university of Santiago de Compostela (Spain) in 2010. The year after I enrolled in a Master Degree in Chemical and Environmental Process Engineering at the same university.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • SANITAS meant doing what I was looking for: researching on a topic related to environmental technology and bioprocesses at the same time with an applied point of view (professional); and the opportunity to live an experience abroad knowing new cultures and people, something that I always wanted to live (personal).
About my research project
The current wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are consumers of energy, the most of them require more energy than they can produce to treat the wastewater. One of the steps that can help to get a more sustainable WWTP is to change the conventional nitrogen compound treatments, since they consume large amounts of energy (aeration). The aim of this project is to optimize a technology more sustainable to treat the nitrogen compounds from wastewater that can reduce substantially the energy requirements and contribute to get more energy-efficient WWTPs in future.
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ER 1 José Porro

ESR3PorroName: José
Surname: Porro
Nationality: USA
Current e-mail: jose.porro @ lequia.udg.cat
Host institution: University of Girona
Department: Laboratory of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (Lequia)
Name of supervisor: Dr. Joaquim Comas
About me
My previous training

  • I received my Master´s degree in environmental engineering from Manhattan College, am currently pursuing a PhD from Ghent University (BIOMATH), and have 13 years of consultancy experience in water/wastewater design, modelling, planning, and operations.

My motivation to join Sanitas

  • As a sector, we urgently need to retrain ourselves and apply current and new knowledge for sustainable and integrated water management.  I am very passionate about accomplishing this on a personal level but also helping to achieve this for the Water Sector as a whole.  SANITAS could not provide a better platform.
About my research project
The research objective for my individual project is to develop qualitative models for risk assessment of biological operational problems in urban water systems.  Qualitative models integrating numerical models with knowledge–based systems can help describe complex biological phenomena, for which an understanding of mechanisms and deterministic models are lacking, and help develop sustainable solutions to operational problems.  The work will develop an integrated knowledge-based/numerical model and perform/test  model-based evaluations of various solutions to sustainably mitigate risk of biological operational problems in urban water systems.
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ER 2 Marina Arnaldos

ER 2 Marina ArnaldosName: Marina
Surname: Arnaldos
Nationality: Spanish
Current e-mail: marina.arnaldos.orts @ acciona.com
Host institution: Acciona Agua
Department: I+D+i
Name of supervisor: Teresa de la Torre
About me
My previous training

  • I completed an undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering at the Polytechnical University of Valencia (Spain). I also hold a Master of Science and PhD degree in Environmental Engineering by the Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, US).

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • My motivation to join Sanitas was the incredibly complete package that it offered; an opportunity to apply my knowledge on wastewater processes in an industrial research setting together with continued and specialized training in the diverse topics related to the (arguably) most important and critical resource in the World: WATER!
About my research project
A Membrane Bioreactor (MBRs) is a robust wastewater treatment process achieving high removal of contaminants using a small amount of space. Therefore, they are perfect for water reuse applications where there is low space availability. The only thing preventing a widespread implementation of MBRs is that they use far too much energy. In this project, I will look into two promising strategies for energy savings in MBR systems; the goal is to assess the feasibility of these approaches and to investigate the mechanisms of energy cost improvement to ultimately optimize the whole MBR system energy consumption.
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ER 3 Bertrand Vallet

ER 1 Bertrand ValletName: Bertrand
Surname: Vallet
Nationality: French
Current e-mail: bertrand.vallet @ aquafin.be
Host institution: Aquafin NV
Department: Research and development
Name of supervisor: Marjoleine Weemaes
About me
My previous training

  • I obtained my PhD in September 2011 at Université Laval in civil engineering under the supervision of Paul Lessard and Peter A. Vanrolleghem. My research was focused on the development of a water quality model for stormwater basin with the objective of integrated modelling.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • During my studies, I developed an expertise on both urban water systems, like sewers or wastewater treatment plants, and modelling. With both SANITAS and Aquafin, I have the opportunity to work on integrated modelling and to develop tools for decision makers. The fact that Aquafin is a private company allows me to really do applied research and create tools that are focused on the needs of the water sector. Through SANITAS, I finally have the opportunity to work with different research groups throughout Europe.
About my research project
In most European cities, during storm events, the rain water is mixed to the wastewater into the sewer. The storage capacity of the sewer is limited and some overflows allow the water to be released to the river. Even if it is diluted, the water released transports lots of pollutants. Different strategies can be applied to limit the impact of these combined sewer overflows (CSOs) on the rivers and to help the stakeholders to take the best decision integrated modelling is an helpful tool.
My main task is to develop a model to predict the CSO quality and to use it to develop a tool which will help stakeholders to take the best decision regarding both water quality and cost.
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ER 4 Xavier Garcia Acosta

ER 4 Xavier GarciaName: Xavier
Surname: Garcia Acosta
Nationality: Spanish
Current e-mail: xavier.garciaacosta @ udg.edu / x.garciaacosta @ gmail.com
Host institution: Yarqon River Authority
Name of supervisor: David Pargament
About me
  • My name is Xavier Garcia Acosta. I’m from Catalonia (Spain) and I’m 27 years old. Apart from doing research my hobbies are very diverse. I like to go out with friends, read classical novels, or watching movies. I like to do sports like football or mountain biking too. I’m a nice and ease-going person passionate about my work and life.

My previous training

  • I’ve recently got the PhD degree in Environmental Science at the University of Girona. My thesis, entitled “New urban processes and domestic water consumption: An exploration of relations in the Girona area” aimed to expand knowledge about the management of domestic water consumption in urban and social dynamic territories.

My motivation to join SANITAS

  • My first and foremost motivation to apply for a research position within the SANITAS project is to be able to keep expanding my knowledge and understanding of water management strategies at the basin scale in a Mediterranean context. The fact that the ER4 position implies mobility to Israel, one of the countries with a longer tradition and background regarding the topic of water conservation and sustainable water management, adds to the attractiveness that the vacant poses for me.
About my research project
The research objective of my Individual Research Project (ER4) is to examine the feasibility of successful management of comprehensive and integrated river rehabilitation and management. The river case of study is the Yarqon (Israel). This includes a comprehensive analysis of the past, present and future water users, from an economic, social, legal and scientific perspective. Based on this analysis, I will develop new strategies for the integrated management of urban water systems, including water treatment methods.
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