Projects - Projects - Projects: How it all started ...
In 2012, the Junior Professor for Organic and Ecological Chemistry, Dr. Katrin Schuhen, started her scientific work after completing her doctoral thesis in 2007 after spending several years in the private sector. Since then, numerous research projects have investigated innovative solutions for detecting and removing micro-pollutants and microplastics in and from the water.
In short - what is it about?Water is the most important resource in the world. But, although almost 70 percent of the earth's surface is covered by water, only about 0.007 percent is directly available to humans.
Especially micro-pollutants and microplastics, including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, heavy metals and much more burden the water cycle and us humans more and more.
Not only are the wastewater treatment plants currently not designed for the removal of these substances or have long since reached the limit of their performance, but the environment is also showing more and more negative effects from the increasing pollutant loads.
This is exactly where Wasser 3.0 comes in with new concepts and responsible, goal-oriented solution research in order to learn more about the micro-pollutants and their behavior and to develop solutions to remove the micro-pollutants from the water.
We not only focus on application-oriented research and root cause research, but also on education. With our educational and communication work we want to support a sensible avoidance strategy and thereby protect the environment sustainably.
Ongoing projects and new ideas
We conduct research on the topics: water, water purification, protection of the vital resource water, circular economy and digitization.
Some projects have been and are already being implemented with partners from science and business. However, we are always looking for new approaches and impulses. And we also have a lot of ideas that we think are promising.
Our focus is on continuously expanding our network. In the interests of our environment, we rely on solution-oriented dialogue and mutual learning between different disciplines, partners and stakeholders.
Regardless of whether we start projects in the areas of research or education, transparent communication is always a central aspect of our work (publications). We love research. We love communication. We want to break new ground together with other critical thinkers and committed actors.
Become a part of Wasser 3.0 - as a project partner, sponsor or support us with your donations.
Removal of microplastics from wastewater
Using agglomeration fixation, we succeeded in localizing microplastics regardless of density, size and concentration in a two-step process, firstly and secondly to clump them together. After the reaction, our agglomerates were found on the water surface.
We are currently intensively researching the chemistry behind the processes in order to be able to make even better predictions about removal rates and to further improve the accuracy of the fit of our solutions.
We are also researching a better understanding of the processes and analyzing the behavior of microplastics in different waters. Are you interested in research projects on microplastics?
If you would like to join the project or our network, we will be happy to help you using our contact form.
Additional project partners wanted: Removal of microplastics from seawater
Our research has so far successfully shown that it is possible to remove microplastics from salt water using inorganic-organic hybrid silica gel combinations in order to prevent the proliferation of microplastics in other uses (publications).
We are currently intensively researching, among other things, the influence of different internal and external factors on the entire microplastic removal process, as well as the use of our material-technology combination in different environments, e.g. in zones near the shore, harbor basin.
Are you interested in research projects on microplastics?
You can find more project ideas here. If you would like to join the project or our network, we will be happy to help you using our contact form.
Additional project partners wanted: Removal of microplastics from sewage sludge (industrial, municipal)
According to a study by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants continues to be used as an addition to traditional fertilizers on agricultural land.
The load is estimated at approx. 110,000 - 730,000 t per year. This means that microparticles can reach humans not only via marine animals, but also from foods that come from agriculture (Nizzetto et al. 2016).
We are looking for sponsors and partners for this project.
Project partners wanted: Detection of microplastics in different environmental compartments
The fact that we still don't have the right method at hand is because we have a multi-plastic mixture with microplastics. It is not just polyethylene, polyamide or polyester, but there are many polyethylenes, many polyamides and many polyesters. It is estimated that there are around 2000 different polyethylenes from LDPE, MDPE, HDPE, UHMWPE or LLDPE and an unbelievable number of processing types and therefore different compositions. In summary: a complex microplastic matrix that is not so easy to detect with a single polymer analysis that is already known. Added to this are the problems (reproducibility in sampling, processing and measurement) that arise when working in environmental systems and not in closed production facilities. In the near future, we need a method for the continuous detection of microplastics. This is exactly where we want to start our research and expand existing knowledge with new insights.
For precisely this reason, we are looking for device manufacturers or analytical laboratories that provide their devices for referencing (e.g. Raman spectroscopy, pyrolysis GC-MS) and / or research groups or industrial partners who join the project as creative, innovative developers to carry out, advance and shape the research.
We are looking for sponsors and partners for this project.
Project partners wanted: Use of wastewater as a resource
In addition, wastewater service systems often operate in isolation, relying only on technology to solve problems, and less often taking into account factors and influences that go beyond traditional technology.
Currently, the huge increase in urbanization and economic activity has forced urban areas to improve their wastewater services. Since many elements of the wastewater infrastructure have a lifespan of 50 to 100 years or even longer, the decisions made today have long-term effects and must, therefore, be based on future rather than current or past scenarios. To realize the potential for improved sustainability, the industry needs to fundamentally change its approaches and assumptions about wastewater management, including the creation of much needed new wastewater systems.
Many research projects, including Wasser 3.0, are already dealing more or less efficiently with a new, refined approach to integrating several options for reusing pollutants from used water. Our approach - to see wastewater as a resource - has three goals:
1) Reuse of water-soluble or natural organic material (including organic substances, nitrogen and phosphorus) to enable pollution control, resource collection and product recycling;
2) Application of a sustainability philosophy as a replacement for the traditional construction method, which only focuses on the technical aspect of system design;
3) Consideration of ecosystems to use the capabilities of natural systems at the system level.
We are looking for partners and sponsors to break new ground in achieving these goals.
Project partners wanted: Behavior of microplastics in the environment
We are looking for researchers and industrial partners who can bring their expertise in the field of microplastics from the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, medicine, environmental sciences, ecotoxicology and environmental technicians into the network.
The aim is to sift through scientific data, collect the data, evaluate it in order to make a statement about how the behavior of microplastics in various environmental compartments (areas: air, soil, water) can be described. The basis of this work culminates in activities from the network, for participation in standardization committees and / or research communities in certain research areas. We are looking for sponsors and partners for this project.
We are looking for sponsors and partners for this project.
Project partners wanted: Education and transparent communication
In addition, we would like to enrich school lessons with new impulses with our educational materials. We are looking for sponsors for all projects and supporters.
After a project is before a new project...
In this area you will find projects whose funding has expired, but which continue to occupy us (publications).
The knowledge and experience gained in it provide us with a variety of starting points for new projects.
Do you see interesting opportunities to further develop your own activities together with us?
Do you have ideas for cooperative research and education projects?
Please send us a short e-mail and tell us more about it. We are looking forward to the exchange!
Development of a process for removing pharmaceuticals and heavy metals using innovative hybrid silica gels
StressFix focuses on the functional groups of the stressor molecules and their reactivity towards inorganic-organic structured materials. We have described this principle with functional design. In the area of heavy metal fixation, we also developed complexation reactions, which are also described under the concept of chelation.
With both concepts, we take advantage of the possibility of inserting chemical modifications in the organic part of our hybrid silica gels in order to be able to react to different types and concentrations of anthropogenic stress due to micro-pollutants.
Development of an inorganic-organic building block for the fixation of per- and polyfluorinated hydrocarbons from leachate and groundwater
Due to the improper application of waste mixtures and sewage sludge to the soil, the PFC get into the water cycle and could be detected in the soil and groundwater in many places.
Despite the ban on some PFCs, including perfluorooctanoic acid in the EU, large quantities still get into the water cycle. Adsorption technologies such as the use of activated carbon is suitable to bind long-chain PFC. However, short-chain PFCs also appear in water. These are more difficult to bind and often pass through the activated carbon filter, despite the fact that it still has a capacity. In the RE-Fluor-X project, we researched new combination materials for removing PFC until 2018.
Development of a new procedure and a new method for determining the concentrations of per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFC) in water
Due to the often low concentrations in the water, it is necessary to carry out a sensible sample preparation before the analysis. In addition to filtration and extraction, the derivatization and enrichment of the sample are also important sample preparation steps.
In this project, different methods were compared and the limiting factors were worked out and a new method was researched in order to establish cost-effective methods for water analysis.
In a continuing project, a new derivatization method for PFC in water was also worked out. The results have been published here.
bookED - the electronic textbook focus on knowledge creates the future
By creating an explorative, subject-related, location and time-independent teaching / learning environment, we would like to use bookED to transfer teaching and learning into a "new" learning environment. In doing so, we want to increase the interest of the user in the subjects, which are often perceived as complex and difficult, and make our contribution to making difficult subjects more accessible.
NUT Caching: Interactive learning experiences for at home and on site at the wastewater treatment plant
The innovative core of the project lies in the interdisciplinarity, in the transfer of knowledge and new implementation strategy. At an extracurricular / non-university, at the same time also non-everyday knowledge transfer center, the overarching topic "Provision of clean water" is interactively sensitized / taught in a playful manner and made available to a diverse, heterogeneous group. By opening the sewage plant's gates, the importance of the topic is made accessible and usable to a wide audience. For more information, follow the link.