Lorenzo Botto has been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept grant

News - 02 February 2023 - Webredactie 3mE

Associate Professor Lorenzo Botto from the Complex Fluid Processing group of the Process & Energy Dept. has been awarded an ERC Proof of Concept grant of €150,000 for his “SludgeCam” project. His research is based on a previous ERC grant on graphene nanoparticles, in which centrifugation was used to sort particles by size classes.

Botto will be developing, in collaboration with Maurice Mikkers – a freelance photographer and visual artist- the “SludgeCam”, a  centrifuge camera with integrated software for quick testing of polymer additives and the dewatering ability of waste-water sludges. About 45000 tons of sludge are produced in the EU every day, and the processing of this water-rich material is costly and requires chemical additives. This device will help operators of waste-water treatment plants to adapt the type and dose of these chemical additives to the specific sludge under treatment, minimizing environmental impact and cost of treatment. 

The innovation is based on a tiny camera that is attached to the rotating arm of a lab-scale centrifuge. ‘’It is the first time that researchers can see what happens inside a lab-scale centrifuge while it is spinning, and this will give many insights that can be applied not only to waste-water treatment, but also to other applications such as biotechnology  and food processing. We have developed a system that allows dynamic visualization of a sample subject to centrifugal forces equivalent to more than 2500 times the acceleration of gravity, enabling a wide range of applications in the area of quality testing and screening of complex fluids.’’