April 2022


Water Colleagues,

Sometimes you feel as in an emotional roller coaster. On the one hand we are happy that COVID 19 restrictions are being alleviated, we are happy that we can travel again, that spring started early this year and that we have a Government that (in principle) pays attention to the environment. On the other hand, we, of course, lost faith in our world leaders, of whom one started an unnecessary war, and we finally discover that we are too addicted to fossil fuels. Prices go up and we notice that it is maybe the end of the our luxury life that we lived on account of the earth and large groups of humans and almost all non-humans in the world. We also feel that in the water sector. Water availability becomes an issue and in more and more water sources, amongst others, organic micro-pollutants are discovered. We are now really urged to make choices on sustainability. Alternatives for fossil fuels, not being nuclear energy, have to be implemented faster, but also pollution (from all sectors) should not be tolerated anymore, and integrated (regional) water resources plans should be made and rapidly implemented. We should therefore conclude that growth must be restricted, in terms of domestic, industrial, intensive agricultural water demand.

Apart from the energy crisis, there is a water crisis going on, also in the Netherlands. However, both crises are mainly luxury crises.

If we accept that we value water better and pay more to prevent pollution, and to use and abstract natural resources, we can cope with these crises. Maybe we have to accept that life becomes more expensive and that we go down in financial prosperity, but if the result is that we can live in more harmony with “mother earth” it is worth. Technology is of course important to help us cope with, in this case, the water challenges, but we also need smart thinkers who can develop new strategies for a better life. They can then feed the policy makers and politicians, who, and the end, have to make tough decisions by saying e.g. “no” to polluters and (over)exploiters.

Therefore, at TU Delft, we developed a new Environmental Engineering MSc programme, where students are educated for the challenges of today and tomorrow. The programme will already start in September 2022. More about the programme in next newsletter. In this newsletter you’ll find information on the (prize-winning) project AdOx, aiming at the development of a new technology for the adsorption of organic micro-pollutants, the renewed collaboration with Waternet on the urban water cycle, and the collaboration with Witteveen + Bos on the African Water Corridor. Further new staff members are introduced. When you want to meet them in person, feel free to contact them directly e.g. to identify possibilities for collaboration on innovations in the field of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering.

By Luuk Rietveld


AdOx - from laboratory research to pilot plant research

After almost four years of lab research, the AdOx process will be tested on pilot plant scale. AdOx is an innovative technology for removal of organic micropollutants (OMPs), such as pharmaceuticals, from domestic wastewater effluent. It combines adsorption with oxidation: zeolite granules remove OMPs from treated wastewater effluent by adsorption in a fixed bed filter, and the zeolite filter is regenerated with ozone gas after the zeolite granules are exhausted.

Read More!
The location of the AdOx pilot plant, treating effluent from the secondary clarifier of the wastewater treatment plant Leiden-Noord.

Water for Impact

At the end of this month, two years have passed since I started working at the African Water Corridor Initiative. It will be also 18 months since I have left behind my life in the Netherlands to start my new life in West Africa, in Ghana. My name is Jasper Schakel and in contrast like many other people working at the TU Delft, my employer is not the TU Delft, but the international engineering firm Witteveen+Bos. Two years ago I talked with Doris van Halem where she introduced me to the African Water Corridor.

Read More!
Jasper Schakel and Didier de Villers


Best Paper Award

On March 15, Prerna Prasad (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, EAWAG) received first place in the annual Best Paper Award, handed out by the TU Delft | Water for Impact research group during the Water Summit for Global Development 2022. The two runner-ups are Judith Ulwihirwe (TU Delft) and Shiyang Chen (TU Delft).

Read More!
Prerna Prasad, winner of the Best Paper Award 2022. Photo by Paul Donahue (EAWAG-SANDEC)

AdOx Innovation price celebration

On Thursday 2 December 2021 TU Delft, section Sanitary Engineering, was awarded the Waterinnovatieprijs 2021, category “Healthy water and healthy soil” with the project AdOx: A next generation adsorption-oxidation process for the removal of organic micropollutants from municipal wastewater.

Read More!


Water Summit - Photo by Oker Photography

Water Summit For Global Development 2022

De UN 2023 Water Conference die over een jaar wordt gehouden, is bij uitstek de gelegenheid om de verbinding te leggen tussen water en allerlei andere terreinen. Er is ook dringende behoefte aan opschaling. Deze boodschap droeg Henk Ovink uit tijdens de vandaag gehouden Water Summit for Global Development in Delft.

Zijn verhaal was de waardige afsluiter van het evenement dat ruim 150 deelnemers trok. Henk Ovink heeft samen met zijn collega uit Tadzjikistan de leiding over het voorbereiding proces van de UN 2023 Water Conference, die over een jaar in New York plaatsvindt. De watergezant komt met een duidelijke tijding: in plaats van steeds te reageren op rampen, moet preventie het uitgangspunt zijn.

Department Activities.

Bronze TU Delft honorary medal for Luuk Rietveld

Department chair Luuk Rietveld, professor of Drinking Water & Urban Water Cycle Technology, received the bronze TU Delft honorary medal from Rector Tim van der Hagen on the occasion of his 25th doctoral degree promotion.

Read More!

Roos Goedhart wins NWO Open mind Scholarship

Bij de productie van drinkwater moet ijzer verwijderd worden. Alleen al in Nederland wordt naar schatting 100.000 ton ijzerslibafval per jaar gegenereerd door de productie van drinkwater. Maar wat gebeurt er met die afvalstroom?

Read More!
Roos Goedhart werkt zowel in het waterlab

New Colleague.

Welcome Michele Laureni!

My name is Michele Laureni, and in December 2021 I joined the Sanitary Engineering section as Assistant Professor in bioprocess engineering! I studied environmental engineering at Politecnico di Milano and the Technical University of Denmark.

Michele Laureni

Waternet and TUDelft.

In February 2022 Waternet and TU Delft have signed the strategic letter of intent “Innovations in the Water Cycle”. In this letter of intent Waternet and TU Delft have agreed to cooperate in the field of research and innovations related to drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, urban water infrastructure and water management. The letter of intent covers a period of at least five years. For both partners cooperation has important advantages, as joint ambitions can be strengthened.

Waternet focuses on six specific themes: water technology & water quality, climate adaptation, soil subsidence, circular economy, energy transition, and data & sensoring. As Waternet is a water cycle company, all these themes are important for Waternet to give input to the core values of Waternet: sustainability, efficiency and customer orientation.

For TU Delft, department Water Management, the letter of intent gives opportunities to focus on societal relevant research. With respect to the new MSc program Environmental Engineering this is very important.

Topics do not only cover the traditional topics as water treatment and water transport, but also challenging topics as energy & water and resource recovery from water. That is where Waternet and TU Delft have shared ambitions and cooperation can be very fruitful.

Cooperation can be in the form of internships, BSc and MSc studies, PDEng and PhD studies, guest lectures, and shared use of laboratory facilities.

In case you want to know more, contact Jan Peter van der Hoek

Participating Companies
AriseHealth logoOE logo2020INC logoThe Paak logoEphicient logoToogether logo