Oleksandr Bolielyi

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Fig. 1: Me in Dresden (January 2020)

I am Oleksandr Bolielyi, ESR 4. My hosting institution is G.E.O.S. Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH in Freiberg (Germany). G.E.O.S. is an independent mining & environmental consulting and engineering company. Core activities are engineering solutions along the whole value chain of mining. The competences of the engineers and scientists involved in P-TRAP are in the field of water treatment, hydrometallurgy, raw material processing and geobiotechnology.

I have started working on 1st of December 2019. The topic I am working on is “Converting Iron residual materials into filter-stable sorbent materials for Phosphorus removal”. It is carried out under supervision of Dr. Susan Reichel from G.E.O.S. and co-supervision of Dr. Prof. Stefan Peiffer from Bayreuth University.

Briefly about myself: I am Ukrainian. I have started my scientific life with National Technical University of Ukraine “Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute” My background is chemical engineering and it involves various topics from different disciplines. I always had inspiration to participate in exchange projects. Participation in summer school of National University of Life Sciences in Norway had significant influence on my bachelor’s project. My bachelor’s project was dedicated to Phosphorus removal from the wastewaters via coagulation. My masters was mostly driven by the data obtained during exchange programme in Leiden University, which was dedicated to electrochemical reduction of benzaldehyde on single crystalline Platinum electrodes. And now I have switched to Phosphorus issues back by trying my strengths in the P-TRAP project.

The main objective of the ESR 4 alongside with G.E.O.S. is to develop filter-stable iron sorbent for Phosphorus removal from waters. I am interested in studying the surface properties of adsorbents as well as development of innovative agglomeration techniques.

My research is mostly based on reports and scientific works made in G.E.O.S. alongside with their numerous partners. Most of these works and projects were dedicated to Arsenic removal from waters with Iron-based adsorbents.

Fig. 2: Pilot plant in Tzschelln produces Iron-based raw material.

The treatment of the water is mandatory to avoid the precipitation of the iron minerals in the environment. During conventional treatment the water is aerated and lime milk is added to adjust the pH, oxidize the ferrous iron and separate the ferric hydroxide sludge. An alternative technology designed by G.E.O.S. uses the naturally occurring microbial iron oxidation to produce and precipitate Iron-based material for adsorbents. Nowadays G.E.O.S. produces up to 15 tons per year of the raw materials for adsorbents (Fig. 2).

Since the start of my research we have been collecting data for the raw material towards Phosphorus removal. It involves moisture content analysis, conducting batch experiments to define adsorption capacity of the material, obtaining adsorption isotherms in static and dynamic conditions. For determination of Phosphorus residual concentration a classical photometrical method was applied.

In the nearest future it is planned to conduct determination of other kinetical and thermodynamic parameters, which are important to know for the adsorbent agglomeration in future. Agglomeration is expected to be the most challenging part for G.E.O.S. side, as the Iron-based material is very fine and making it filter-stable can have difficulties.

In order to use Iron-based material as a stable adsorbent in filters for water treatment it has to meet several requirements:

  • large specific surface area;
  • high adsorption capacity;
  • mechanical and filter stability;
  • possibility of regeneration;
  • low cost.

Fig. 3: Preparation of the collected raw material for drying

It will be a great opportunity to take secondments. Our secondments for the moment are planned in Bayreuth University (Bayreuth, Germany), Aquaminerals (Utrecht, Netherlands) and Seville University (Seville, Spain). The first upcoming secondment is planned in Bayreuth in July-August of 2020, where I am going to gain knowledge in spectroscopy and quantification of P-binding to solids. Later in the middle of September the secondment at Aquaminerals are planned to start. Communicating with partners from Aquaminerals, it was decided, that I could learn practical agglomeration techniques in details. The last secondment is planned in July of 2021 in Seville University. There we were suggested to use numerous techniques for surface characterization and the idea of the secondment is to study loaded materials or prepared agglomerates, although we could also think of using other techniques to work towards our goals.

P-TRAP is aimed at cooperation not only between supervisors and their ESRs, but also ESRs cooperation between each other. Thus, we will be working with almost each of the ESRs. We will work on determination of sorbent’s parameters, development of agglomeration techniques, conduction of the field tests and will provide interested ESRs with prepared filter-stable sorbents for further application. Most related ESRs are 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9.

Fig. 4: Dnieper, main arteria of Ukraine suffering from eutrophication by David Polohov.

The problem of eutrophication is disturbing and the certain measures must be applied in order to save waters, soils and as a consequence – people. The main motivation of mine is satisfaction in finding solution for complex tasks. Eutrophication/phosphorus preservation is one of the most discussed issues in scientific community. Thus cooperating with numerous partners, I have faith, that the issue of Phosphorus preservation can be resolved.

My free time is usually dedicated to fitness and personality development. I am fond of planning and management, so sometimes I play strategic video games. I enjoy learning languages very much. Since I live in Germany I have recently started to learn German by myself, but in the future I am planning to take courses in order to reach desirable level. It is expected to be the fourth language, which I can use for communication.

Wish you all the best!