Germany, Italy, Africa – they’re all destinations from the international hub of Leeuwarden. Alumnus of 2022, Stan Turk, has barely been at work for more than six months at Aqana, and is already trotting the globe and a walking encyclopedia when it comes to anaerobic digestion. “I use the full width of knowledge from the master’s every day.”
“I never planned to do a master’s degree.” Having finished a bachelor’s in chemical engineering was enough for Stan. So, he went out looking for his place in industry. He had been looking for months, and then COVID broke out too. But there still was the faintest idea in the back of his mind. And that started to grow; reasoning: “well, if there’s any master’s I like, I guess I’ll go for it.”
Water technology had been his cup of tea for a bit now. Maybe unknowingly. He first got in touch with the field during an internship at the local water board as part of his degree. And later he even did his thesis at KWR. “So I might as well try the master’s degree,” Stan thought.
And even though studying in times of a pandemic felt more like pushing through than an exiting adventure, by the time the skies cleared, and he had found his way to the lab again, Stan knew that he found himself in the right spot. A little bit of this science, a little bit of that; combined with being in the lab again, he had found his home turf.
‘Can do!’ would be a good way to depict Stan. Favouring to pull the strings – do it himself. But exploring new areas, going off-limits, is certainly not out of the question. In fact, his interest in programming, and electrical engineering has helped him a lot in his new job at Aqana.
“At Aqana we make anaerobic digestors for generating biogas, normally granular sludge is used by our competition, which is sensitive and can degrade under harsh conditions. But, our system is likely to handle these conditions due to our carriers.” the alumnus process engineer tells.
With so many waste streams all over the planet, each needs its own optimization. Nearly the first thing our graduate got to do was set up one of these pilots in Italy. At first with a little help from a colleague. Stan: “After only two months they put it under my name, and I am managing it now.”
But checking the electric schemes, troubleshooting, writing reports are part of his job description too. “I daily use nearly everything we were taught at the master’s,” Stan says. And it’s one of the reasons he got hired in the first place.
Turk is not the only alumnus working at Aqana. Of the sixteen or so employees, close to a quarter are Wetsus Academy graduates. Sarahi and Felipe, both alumni from earlier years, fulfill a similar role to Stan. And now, second year’s Bruno is doing his internship. It’s a testament to their added value.
“I never planned to do a PhD either,” Stan says, “and I don’t plan to do it at this moment either. But now I do see myself get back in academia for a while. Well, if there’s any topic I like at Wetsus, I guess I’ll go for it.”