Environmental Technology assisted in developing a soil remediation redox-simulation, meant to help students strengthen their understanding of redox reactions and utilize this knowledge in a highly relevant application.
Three interactive computer simulations have been developed by the Science Support Center (Betasteunpunt) of Wageningen University. Developed for upper division high school students, these modules are learning resources that bring science models into the classroom. Environmental Technology assisted in developing a soil remediation redox-simulation, meant to help students strengthen their understanding of redox reactions and utilize this knowledge in a highly relevant application.
In the soil remediation-redox simulation, students become Environmental Technologists, cleaning soils contaminated with industrial pollutants such as benzene using chemical and biological remediation techniques. Chemical and biological soil remediation is, in essence, a set of redox reactions whereby pollutants are oxidized or reduced. "To properly execute soil remediation, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of redox chemistry, " said Professor Huub Rijnaarts.Redox reactions, although essential to many areas of science, unfortunately often remain abstract exercises in combining half reactions. The soil remediation simulation should show students how the theory is applied in practice. Jurgen Wernsing, Remediation Project Manager at Grontmij, finds that the makers were successful: "This is a nice introduction to our field. It shows how important chemistry is in remediation.”
Environmental Technology’s involvement with the Science Support Center is an example of the department’s commitment to incorporating relevant, new research into the education program. Soil remediation has been a mainstay within the department’s research strategy, with a number of current and recent PhDs investigating in situ soil remediation technologies (Wijb Sommer , Zhoubiao Ni, Nura Sutton). Already taught in the BSc and MSc program, the department’s foray into translating principles of soil remediation into relevant secondary education is an exciting new step towards educating the Environmental Technologists of the future.