student
loes heemskerk

Future expert and intern R&D wastewater management at Evides Industriewater

Having nearly finished her MSc water technology, Loes Heemskerk is out in the ‘real’ world – exploring her talents at Evides Industriewater as intern at their R&D department, where she analyzed the future potential of sludge. “I’m glad that this study and internship allowed me to give back to the world. It felt good to be a part of the company.”

Living to do good, Loes Heemskerk has always been driven to better the environment. Starting with her Bachelor of Science in biotechnology at Wageningen, she continued her studies in Leeuwarden – “to be more pragmatic.” And now, having run at blazing speed through her MSc, she finally got a chance to proof herself at Evides Industriewater.

 “I got to be part of the research and development department, where I am involved in the wastewater management team. Here we try to make the most of what is produced on the side.

So, my task was to generate an inventory of ideas and lay contacts to companies involved in processing excess sludge – a wet lump of earthy residues. Where you would normally burn it, and generate biogas, we think there could be more to it.

the future of sludge

I mapped out the possible futures for sludge being helped by my ex-Wetsus-PhD supervisor Paula van den Brink. Making a shortlist of the best options and partners for Evides Industriewater by analyzing and talking to people in the business. For instance, I checked out the viability of supercritical sludge gassing and fermenting of salty sludge – a crucial topic as the sea level rises.

The internship gave me an opportunity to be involved in water technology outside of academia – contacting all sorts of parties via business cases. A unique chance.

I think the study did really help. In jobs like these, it is so important to have major background knowledge in water technology. Not only is knowing the process is useful, having deep know-how on reactors and the science behind it is essential. I think we were well prepared at the academy.

Though, business cases are quite different. It was more challenging as more different skills are involved, but that is to be expected if you study in academia. Luckily my supervisor was always there for me, but I can’t help thinking to myself I can always do better. As I usually do.

Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the internship. Research was fun, but individualistic. Here at Evides Industriewater, especially during the pandemic, you see the true usefulness of businesses like these – how essential they are.

I feel like this sort of place – an influential company, is a place for me to be. Maybe even big petro companies are the way to go. I would have never expected that, but if you want to make a change to the world, they could well be the way to go.

I am still open to other possibilities though, and will have a look around, but I am glad to have been a part of the team and a student at the Wetsus Academy.”

With a motivation like hers, we have no doubt we hear more from Loes in the future.

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