Dr. Ir. Frederik Zietzschmann
In October 2018, I started a tenure track position in Sanitary Engineering, focusing on advanced physical-chemical water treatment technologies aimed at increasing water quality, safety, and re-usability. A major aspect of these technologies is the control of organic micro-pollutants such as pharmaceutical, industrial, and agricultural residues. These undesired substances find their way into our water resources via manifold pathways such as wastewater treatment plant effluents or diffuse application. The associated hazards will continue to grow since the concentrations of many chemicals are likely to rise in the future (e.g. due to reduced dilution/dryer climate, or increased pharmaceutical usage by ageing populations). Also, modern advanced analytical techniques allow us to find such pollutants even at very low concentrations. The so-called precautionary principle, which is generally applied in European countries, commands us to reduce the potential risks associated with these compounds (even if not all hazards may have been identified yet).
My research consists of two major intertwined topics: (1) Advanced water treatment technologies and (2) analytical procedures for water quality assessment. The technological part (1) allows for removing undesired compounds, thus increasing water quality whilst reducing potential adverse health and environmental effects. The analytical part (2) allows for measuring the water quality changes reached with different technologies and thus allows for assessing the associated benefits. The combination of these two inextricably linked spheres gives us the great opportunity to examine advanced water treatment processes in detail and highlight their specific advantages.
As an example, I found that specific components of the bulk dissolved background organic matter have strong negative impacts on the removal of micro-pollutants by activated carbon. I developed new tools to assess and predict the severity of these impacts. These aspects are important for scientists and practitioners who want to use adsorption on larger scales and choose adsorbents for specific purposes.
If you want to know more, have questions, ideas or anything else to discuss, please feel invited to stop by my office, 4.52.