This page will be continuously updated with news and events covering the project and its participants
International Water Summer School, NMBU, 2019
Participants from the AECo project participated in the International Water Summer School in 2019 along with 40 other students from 9 countries. They first spent 2 weeks at NMBU, before they travelled to attend a course on Water Management in Cold Climates in the North of Norway, where they could experience the midnight sun. Below follows a testimony from Markus Ingelsson, one of the students from University of Calgary, Canada:

"I am a first year M.Sc. Chemical Engineering student at the University of Calgary specializing in electrochemical water treatment systems. I attended the summer school at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) during a three week period in the summer of 2019. This experience was a part of the AECo collaboration between universities in Norway and North America. During this period, I completed two graduate level courses; THT311 Water Resources Management and Treatment Technologies and THT312 Water Management in Cold Climates. The overall experience was exceptionally influential, both academically and personally.

I have previous academic experience in water management. However, this course was extraordinarily in-depth and I was introduced to new concepts I had no background in. Apart from the high quality lectures, the various fieldtrips and the Smart Urban Drainage Systems Conference we attended further excelled the learning experience. Additionally, traveling to Tromsø to learn about water management in the arctic was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. During the cold climates course, I was particularly impressed by the presence of representatives from every arctic country (an extraordinary feat in today's political climate). The multi-national perspectives made the experience more nuanced and interesting.

During the span of the visit, I met people from countries that I had only heard of before. It was amazing to engage with peers from countries like Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Sri Lanka. This made me realize how much we have in common, even though we live in completely different geographical and geopolitical places. New friendships were made and the groundwork for future collaborations was established. A fair bit of gastronomic, linguistic and musical cultures were exchanged, which further enriched the experience.

In hindsight, the three weeks spent in Norway learning about water management together with students from around the world was an invaluable life experience. I am certain that this view is shared among everyone involved. I would like to thank the AECo project and NMBU for making this possible."

Mobility from NMBU to Columbia University and University of Calgary

In the month of May 2019 2 students from NMBU, Roman Kuzhel and Thea Caroline Granhus, participated in a 2 week mobility to Columbia University (CU) and University of Calgary (UoC). At University of Calgary they shadowed students from both Prof. Ponnurangam's group (focused on Environmentally sustainable reagents and processes for mineral processing, oil and gas industries) and Prof. Roberts group (focused on CO2 Capture and Utilisation). Compared to NMBU, where most of the research is applicable, the research at UoC are more theoretical. At CU, the students were introduced to Raman spectroscopy, which is a technique used to determine vibrational modes of molecules, and that the NMBU students can use to better characterise fouling during their experiments. They also visited Stony Brook University, and their work on the removal of water and gas phase contaminants are relevant for the work at NMBU.
Third project meeting at the University of Calgary
The third project meeting was organised in Calgary, Canada in May, 2019. It was combined with the mobility of 2 students from NMBU to UoC, so that the students could participate in the meeting. The topic of the meeting was Water Treatment Innovation: Joint Water-related Research Interests and Opportunities.

Professor Edward Roberts talked about research and development in the water purification sector at the University of Calgary. Prof. Edwards spoke about the activity of the electrochemical research group, which includes: Energy storage and conversion; Synthesis of fuel; Environmental technology. To conduct research in the fields described above, the research team uses modern materials and equipment. The subject of the study is produced water, tailings, wastewater after Pulp&Paper production. The main problems of lower efficiency of water purification by electrocoagulation are connected to the high content of Silica and organic matter which lead to electrodes folding, which causes further problems. To reduce the negative effects of Organic and Si the next technics are studied and used: polarity reversal, Oscillation, Magnetic field. To study and understand the fouling process, the LSCM technique and Raman spectroscopy are used.

The next presentation was presented by AECo industrial partner - Oleg Wowkodaw, President and CEO of Blue Eden. The company is engaged in solving complex problems in the water purification sector with the help of leading-edge technology such as Electro-Flotation/Flocculation/Coagulation (EF/EC) and Electro-Chemical Oxidation (ECO). The company has 75 years of experience in the field of industrial water treatment and has implemented more than 250 projects/plans in Europe, the Middle East, India and East Asia. During the presentation, Oleg shared company experience based on practical engineering
know-how and most importantly in rigorous testing of presented technologies. In addition, problems and obstacles which company is faced were also discussed.

Columbia University research scientist Irina Chernyshova talked about the problem connected to high Pb content in drinking water at the USA, due to the old water supply system and presented the possible solution of this issue. In the latest research, Irina found that with the help of electrodeposition using functionalized metal-free high-surface area conducting polymers it is possible to economically and efficiently adsorb and desorb of a targeted element from low concentration solution, thus solving the problem with Pb content in drinking water. The further step of research is testing of this electrode on other redox-active contaminants (Cr, As) and organics (contaminants of emerging concern).
Later, Satish Ponnurangam represented the topic of Alberta oil industry water treatment challenges, where the problems and opportunities of oil sands tailing were presented as well as produce water treatment in Alberta. Satish explained the key drivers of water treatment improvement and presented the advantages and disadvantages of water treatment technics, which are currently using.

Professor Harsha Ratnaweera and Zakhar Maletskyi presented the water and wastewater research and development at NMBU, the WESH group activity and its research interests represented by conducted and current researches.

At the conclusion of the meeting, plans and opportunities for future cooperation between the partners within the AECO project were discussed

Second project meeting at the Columbia University

The second project meeting was held in New York 17-18 August 2018, back-to-back with the 256th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting & Exposition in Boston. The partners first met up at the legendary Birdland Jazz Club in New York on 17 August, and completed a day of meetings on the 18th at Columbia University. The meeting focused on identifying the priorities for further project/application developments, and issues to follow-up in the coming project period.

Topics that were covered:

  • Needs and expectations in water treatment sectors at SUEZ (Maltesh)
  • Opportunities for development of mobile water treatment options for unconventional oil and gas recovery industries (Dr. D.V. Satya Gupta, from Baker Hughes)
  • Electrocoagulation research at the UoC / Recent research results on electrocoagulation (Sathish Ponnurangam)
  • Experience and opportunities on electrocoagulation research at NMBU (Harsha Ratnaweera, Zakhar Maletskyi
Opportunities for combined processes (Ponisseril Somasundaran, Irina Chernyshova)

There was also a project planning sessions focusing on the final year and a half of the project. The third project meeting will be held at University of Calgary, preferably in conjunction with an event such as the Canadian Water Summit, Blue Cities CWN, or similar events. The publication "Opportunities of electrocoagulation for Water Safety and Circularity" was planned, and assigned to authors. The student mobility for the project was planned, both the 3 weeks intensive course at NMBU in June/July 2019 + the mobility of NMBU students to UoC and CU. Future applications were planned, and it is planned that a full proposal will be developed by September 2019 to the SIU/DIKU North America program.

The ACS National Meeting & Exposition in Boston was fruitful and interesting for the participants, and the AECo project was represented by session organisers and presiders in Section B Colloidal & Interfacial Science in Separation Processes. Several project participants also held presentations during the exposition (with abstracts):

The third and final project meeting will be held at the University of Calgary, Canada in the spring/summer 2019.
First project meeting at NMBU, Norway

The AECo consortium met for the first time in Ås, Norway 19 – 21 March 2018. International participants arrived two days before the meeting in order to experience the Norwegian winter. The following participated in the meeting: Harsha Ratnaweera, Zakhar Maletskyi and Elisabeth Hoff from NMBU; Edward Roberts and Sathish Ponnurangam from University of Calgary; Irina Chernyshova from Columbia University and Ponisseril Somasundaran joined by Skype; Georg Finsrud from A-Aqua; Nataly Sivchenko from DOSCON; and Hanumantha Rao Kota from NTNU. The meeting started with a welcome and networking dinner in Oslo on the 19th evening, so that participants could get to know each other in a more informal setting. Tuesday 20 March consisted of a full day of meetings, where the first part focused on the introduction to the project and introduction of the partners, explaining the goals and expected results of the project.

A Stakeholder's session followed where A-Aqua, DOSCON, Ecotec and Scantec could present their work, needs, expectations and what they can contribute to the project. Then participants from UoC, CU, NTNU, and NMBU presented their research, experiences and opportunities in the field of Electrocoagulation. Irina presented opportunities for combined processes, where the goal is to produce less sludge and restrict the use of chemicals. The project group spent some time discussing the possibilities and challenges of electrocoagulation, trying to map out the project.

The meeting concluded with a project planning session, discussing future project meetings and mobilities. Next meeting will be in New York 17th-18th August, back-to-back with the 256th American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition in Boston. The third and final project meeting will be in Calgary, in the spring/summer of 2019. The project will develop teaching modules and methods/tools, integrate teaching materials in already existing courses at the universities.

After the meeting at NMBU in Ås, the group travelled back to Oslo for a delicious dinner at a social dining restaurant and enjoyed more informal discussions.
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