From the Faculty of Engineering (FE), three Chemical Engineering (CHE) students at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) were selected to participate in training sessions as part of the Sustainable Wastewater Treatment for Hospitals (SWaTH) project, a three-year venture co-funded by Erasmus+.
Nour Atallah and Mia Hajj were invited to Finland, where they worked on photocatalytic degradation of pharmaceutical compounds in water in a group led by Dr. Mika Huuhtanen at the University of Oulu. “I was given the chance to work with diverse advanced research equipment,” Nour noted, allowing her to work on the preparation of hydrochar, a solid rich in carbon, from garden waste through hydrothermal carbonization. Her main goal was to find a sustainable adsorbent that can be used to clean wastewater released from hospitals without harming the environment.
Meanwhile, Mia used photocatalysts to work on the breakdown of pharmaceutical contaminants, developing catalysts via wet impregnation and characterizing them using several analysis techniques such as x-ray diffraction. These experiments proved the efficiency of the synthesized catalysts in degrading the pharmaceutical contaminants.
In Spain, Karen Nassif worked on the synthesis of activated carbon (ACs) out of biomass in the laboratory of Dr. Sergio Morales Torres at the University of Granada. For this synthesis, Karen used waste residues generated from industrial distillation to produce ACs. By utilizing hydrothermal carbonization using a high-pressure reactor followed by chemical and physical activation, the outcome of the performed work showed promising results and implications that will subsequently be explored.
“These training sessions permit students to access advanced facilities in renowned European laboratories and universities,” said Dr. Elias Feghali, Coordinator of the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Programs at NDU. Nour, Mia, and Karen’s participation and experiments resulted in positive feedback from the SWaTH international partners, recognizing their devotion and autonomy. The CHE program continues to rear capable engineers committed to using their skills to benefit the larger society, a testament to their moral integrity as NDU students.