School of Engineering


Wastewater treatment research group photo


My name is Ilaria and I was an exchange student at Aalto University during 2019-2020. During the second semester I collaborated with the on-going NPHarvest project for my Master Thesis. The project was about developing a process to recover nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from different wastewater streams. The overall process developed was based on coagulation-flocculation as a pre-treatment unit, and then a membrane reactor as nitrogen recovery unit. The Water and Wastewater Research Group gave me the opportunity to contribute to the project by bringing up new ideas on how to make the process more sustainable.

Firstly, I studied the use of natural coagulants in the pre-treatment unit on lab scale, and then we were also able to test natural coagulants on pilot scale at Viikinmäki WWTP. It was amazing for me to actually learn how to control the pilot plant and how to make it work. I also tested the membrane reactor in a new site (Ämmässuo landfill) and collected data from the nitrogen recovery unit to compare the efficiency of the membrane reactor on pilot scale, with results collected on lab scale. I am grateful for how this Research Group supported me throughout the whole project and at the same time trusted me and my ideas. This dynamic group of people made me grow up from academic and personal point of view. They were always willing to help and they made me feel part of the group from the beginning.

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