5th post: Ilaria's radiant reflection
Hi, my name is Ilaria and I am a Master student in Environmental Engineering from Italy (Politecnico of Torino). I decided to apply for exchange year on my second year of Master studies because I love getting to know new cultures and meet new people. I value learning from experiences which make you “get out of your comfort zone” since I find these experiences challenging and they help me to expand the way I see the world. I have been interested and fascinated by water treatments and especially wastewater treatments since the last year of Bachelor, and it might be because of our unquestionable need of water and, at the same time, our ability to easily spoil it as human beings. Due to the changes we are causing to this planet, I find important to try to seek technological solutions which could help our world to be more sustainable.
When I started thinking about my Thesis topic, I was sure I had the chance to find an interesting topic in Aalto University considering the Water and Environmental Engineering Master’s Programme. In fact, NP Harvest project happened to be a great opportunity to me to finally give my contribute, after years of studying, to something I believe it is important for a more sustainable future. More specifically, in NP Harvest project, I focused on studying alternatives to chemical products, currently in used in the pre-treatment unit (coagulation-flocculation). Natural coagulants seemed to be best candidate for my lab experiments. I also planned on conducting experiments on lab-scale membrane reactor, to analyze membrane performance and observe how fouling affects the membrane. This last part unfortunately had to be stopped due to COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent Finland lockdown. Hopefully, this part will be concluded in the near future.
Speaking of COVID-19 outbreak, I find interesting how this virus have the power to change our lifestyle so quickly (even if a little bit forced), while even all the irrefutable evidences of climate change’s negative impact on the environment and on human beings have been well known by most of the people, prior to this pandemic.