.l.t.r. State Minister Dr. Marcel Huber; second prize winner John Hunt; first prize winner Ka Yu Cheng; Prof. Dr. Wilderer, Dr. Hans Huber, first prize winner Stefano Freguia; third prize winner Francisco Manjon Navarro
Our water in Germany is safe, it has always been and will certainly remain safe for us in the future, but in the future we will have to think a lot more about our water.
The effects of the climate change are apparent everywhere. Water is becoming a scarce and increasingly precious resource, and also wastewater is becoming an increasingly valuable resource, too valuable to clarify and just discharge it. This is still common practice in most industrial states but no longer to justify under the present circumstances. In many parts of the world wastewater has already become a valuable raw material, mainly for irrigation of agricultural land. But it can only be used after adequate treatment, and adequate treatment facilities are still unavailable very often. But wastewater is more: The heat and energy, nutrients and water contained are valuable sources themselves. They are enormous hidden potentials, new sources of regenerative energy, as Dr. Hans Huber, speaker of the managing board of Hans Huber AG pointed out in his short introductory speech to the prize award ceremony. Opening up these hidden potentials is one of the new challenges for today’s and future engineers. To sensitise international young engineers and encourage them to think in this new direction, the subject of the HUBER Technology Prize 2008 was
Wastewater as a source of energy, plant nutrients, water
The prize endowed with 17,500 Euro is donated by the Huber Technology Foundation which was founded to support German and international young engineers, sensitise them for the exciting water and wastewater issue and encourage them to make sustainability with this exhaustible resource the focus of their future action on global water challenges. Dr. Marcel Huber of the Bavarian Environmental Ministry explained in his speech the great importance this issue already has in Bavarian water management.
Students from all over the world submitted their ideas, concepts and research results to win one of the prizes. The suspense was therefore rising when Prof. Dr. Peter Wilderer, chairman of the executive board of the Huber Technology Foundation, held the laudatory speech prior to announcing the winners and presenting their work.
Francisco Manjon Navarro, Spain (Universidad Complutense of Madrid) convinced the expert jury, consisting of Dr. Grambow (Bavarian Environmental Ministery), Prof. Dr. Wilderer, Prof. Brenner (Israel) and Prof. Dr. Bischof (Hochschule Amberg-Weiden), and won the third prize with a concept for water disinfection that is based on the photo-catalytic effect under the impact of UV light (sunlight). The catalyst used is ruthenium solution, with immobilisation on polymer taking place to generate heterogeneous phases. The reaction times are very short, the cost-effective system is especially suitable for application in developing countries.
The second prize was awarded to John Hunt, Australia (Murdoch University) who developed a software tool for the review of wastewater reuse in rural areas under the sustainability aspect as an aid for planners to show the efficiency of decentralised solutions with wastewater reuse.
The first prize shared Ka Yu Cheng (Hongkong) and Stefano Freguia (Italy) with their idea of developing a microbial fuel cell that combines wastewater clarification and power production. Both are students at universities in Australia, Ka Yu Cheng at Murdoch University and Stefano Freguia at the University of Queensland.
The award ceremony took place within a DWA and DAAD event. Another 70 scientists from Africa and 50 young researchers from all over the world had been invited to attend the ceremony – a perfect opportunity to intensify contacts and establish new ones.