Secondment at AquaMinerals B.V

– By Mingkai Ma –

As an experimentalist, I must admit that my experience in dealing with natural samples is limited. For simplicity and practical reasons, we mimic the complicated soil/sediments environment with synthesized iron minerals, cultivated bacteria, and artificial water (99% from natural products) in the lab. However, the secondment collaborating with Aquaminerals has provided a great opportunity for me to work with iron sludges from drinking water companies, together with a new perspective regarding how to implement lab experience into practice. For this, we analyzed samples from several drinking water companies, which are used as the by-product of drinking water treatment plants for phosphate removal. Working closely with a master student, Lourens, we managed to combine theoretical modelling together with multiple lab techniques, to get the reactivity of these iron sludges. The result has provided fruitful insights into how to properly select and use by-products for drinking water treatment and, in the end, supply us with cleaner drinking water.

Schematic of the lab setup. Photo by Lourens. L.

Dried iron sludges from the by-product of drinking water treatment plants. Photo by Lourens. L.