The Laboratory of Chemical and Environmental Engineering (LEQUIA) of the University of Girona (UdG) organized a summer school on membranes for water processes from 3rd to 14th July 2023. Funded by the Erasmus+ Blended Intensive Program (BIP), the event highlighted the relevance of membrane processes to purify and treat water.
The summer school brought together more than 30 people, with 18 international students from universities of Montpellier, KU Leuven, Ghent University, TU Liberec and UCT Prague together with students for the University of Girona and visiting professors. The program included online seminars, lectures given at UdG Faculty Sciences and technical visits to real facilities applying membrane processes to treat water. Students had the opportunity to get to know more about a wide range of membranes processes (ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, forward osmosis….) that are commonly used as separation processes for water treatment (potable water production, wastewater treatment, nutrients recovery, desalination).
From the 3rd to the 7th of July, 22 on-line presentations were given by international experts from academic and business organisations. Besides being introduced to the fundamentals of membranes and existing applications, students had the chance to get to know new research fields and tools to bring membrane technologies from lab to the market. Among the academic speakers, we acknowledge Wojciech Kujawski (Torun University), Arnout D’haese (Ghent university), Watsa Khongnakorn (Prince of Songkla university), Azize Ayol (Dokuz Eylul University), Alberto Tirafferri (Politecnico de Torino), Geoffroy Lesage (University of Montpellier) and Hector Monclus (University of Girona). Among industry participants, we counted with the participation of membrane manufacturers such as Polymem, Aquaporin, Fonto de Vivo, Ecomemb and end-users such as VEnvirotech (Carlos Ramos) and ATL (Fernando Valero). Moreover, Johannes Seif and Nicolas Saganias presented Arduino and Python approaches as research tools.
From the 10th to the 14th, all students came to Girona and participated to group works, practices to gave them further insight of laboratory tools (Arduino, RO membrane design) and membrane applications (forward osmosis, decentralized UF systems). This was coordinated and supervised by LEQUIA researchers Gaetan Blandin, Joaquim Comas and Ignasi Rodriguez-Roda, with the support of their research team (Pere Olives, Almoatasem Alaufi, Cinthia Padilla, Rajashree Yalamanchili and Nicolas Saganias). The summer school concluded with a site visit to Lequia facilities and to the landfill leachate treatment plant of Lloret del Mar organized by J.Gabarró (Telwesa).
To sum up, the event highlighted the relevance and interest of membrane technologies to address main challenges of water treatment and management, such as water saving, reuse and purification. UdG LEQUIA research group started to research on these technologies more than twenty years ago and has several industrial patents and one spinoff company founded (Ecomemb).