The sub-department of Environmental Technology offers the following MSc courses within the Master track Environmental Sciences:
This course deals with the methods and technologies that can be applied for the treatment of contaminated water, sediment and soil. The main purpose of these technologies is to neutralize harmfulness to the environment; further they aim at closing the water cycle and re-use of soil.
The treatment of water, sediment and soil is directed at the destruction of the (micro) pollutant. With soil/sediment this step may be preceded by concentrating the (micro) pollutant in a limited amount of soil material which can be treated further. Both in-situ and ex-situ technologies are discussed. The main technologies considered are based on biological, chemical and physical processes.
General basic knowledge of environmental technology is refreshed and extended as a preparation to the more specific courses ETE-30306 Biological Processes for Resource Recovery and ETE-30806 Advanced Water Treatment and Re-use. Attention is paid to phase-separation processes and chemical and biological conversion processes for the treatment of water, gases, soil and solid wastes. These processes are analyzed by mass balances, which are a powerful tool to design, model and optimize treatment processes. Physical, chemical and biological aspects, including equilibrium states and conversion rates, that are relevant for the development and application of separation and conversion processes, as well as the mathematics for the analysis of mass balances are discussed. The theory is critically evaluated in a technical laboratory practical.
All organic materials are in one way or another involved in biological cycles. Biodegradation of this material will lead to compounds that can be recovered as resources, which will enter the biological cycle again. The subject of this course is the use of biological processes to recover resources within Environmental Technology. An overview is given of both technological, microbiological, and thermo dynamical aspects of the processes of interest. Based on general kinetics of biological processes, the design principles for wastewater treatment, sustainable energy production from waste and wastewater, off gas cleaning and soil remediation will be derived. Biological processes for the degradation and conversion of organic contaminants, organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorous, sulphur under aerobic and anaerobic conditions will be reviewed.
Global water scarcity necessitates the reuse of domestic, agricultural and industrial wastewaters. To achieve this objective, in many cases advanced treatment concepts are required, in which biological treatment processes for removal and recovery of bulk contaminants are supported by physical-chemical treatment methods for removal of trace and/or non-biodegradable contaminants. In this course the emphasis is on these physical-chemical treatment technologies. Membrane treatment, advanced oxidation processes and electrochemical technologies are only some examples of the technologies that are explained. This course also deals with the background knowledge required for reactor design, optimization of reactor performance and scaling up. This includes physical transport phenomena, chemical and physical equilibria, chemical reaction kinetics, phase separation, electrochemistry and colloid chemistry. A number of realistic cases are described, which illustrate how, based on wastewater characteristics and effluent requirements, the appropriate unit processes can be selected and designed.
Access to sufficient energy is a key prerequisite for any industrial society. Fossil fuels are the dominant energy source nowadays, but their use involves a number of problems: enhanced greenhouse effect, air pollution, and resource depletion. Energy savings and the use of renewable energy are directions for achieving an environmentally sustainable industrial society. This course will focus on harvesting sustainable energy sources as a key factor in solving environmental problems. Thermodynamics will be used to analyze the necessary energy conversion processes.
Apart from the possibility to explore a specific development or state-of-the-art in the field of Environmental Technology on an individual basis (ranging from 1 to 6 ec), one programmed capita selecta course has been offered.
Water treatment & reuse
The primary objective of wastewater treatment always has been to produce a water quality that satisfies the discharge standards. The last decade this objective slowly changed when the need for renewable resources became recognized. Obviously, this concerns water itself, for example expressed in one of the Millennium Development Goals to “reduce by half the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water”, but also applies to reuse of industrial wastewater, cost-effective production of irrigation water and the even production of drinking water from wastewater. Removal of bulk pollutants already was an important issue and now micropollutants that prevent reuse of water have become equally important. Examples are heavy metals, medicine residues, hormones and pathogens. In addition, new legislation imposes more stringent discharge guidelines for the nutrients phosphorus and nitrogen.
Energy & nutrient recovery
A relatively new but extremely important issue concerns the observation that wastewater pollutants often represent valuable and renewable resources. For instance, bulk organic compounds in wastewater can be recovered as energy by anaerobic processes or by bio-fuel cells. Another example is the phosphorus present in domestic, agricultural and industrial wastewaters. Economically exploitable phosphorus ores are expected to be finished within 50 years time.
The Internship is a learning period during which the relationship with professional practise is emphasised. He internship and supervision are usually provided by a third party outside the sub-department of Environmental Technology.
The MSc thesis is the culmination of the Master study programme. The student independently addresses a topic, usually by doing research within an ongoing research project. It is possible to make your own research proposal or conduct research that involves other chair groups.