Contribution of the partners to the project
The University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada has a strong research group working on membrane technology. The UBC Coordinator Prof. Pierre Bérubé is the Director of UBC/UNBC Environmental Engineering Program, with long standing relationships with the industry. He has over 20 years of research dealing with the development of membrane and biological technologies for water and wastewater treatment applications. Much of his recent research focuses on the development of passive/low-cost water treatment systems for small and/or remote communities in North America and abroad. His research group at UBC has advanced labs, a pilot scale membrane bioreactor, conventional treatment systems, and levels of collaboration with industries. UBC has collaborated with NMBU through the ongoing SIU-High North project “Water management in Cold Climates” (Water Magic Project). Prof. Bérubé is also a member of the scientific committee of the forthcoming EWA conference on Water Management in Cold Climates (EWA-WMCC), 24-27 June 2016 in Spitsbergen, where NMBU is the host, and Prof Ratnaweera is the conference chair.
The University of Washington (UW) is among the leading universities engaged in advanced research and innovation in the field of membrane technologies for water treatment. UW has carried out numerous funded projects related to membrane fouling, development of novel materials for membrane processes and related areas, and has an active master and doctoral program focused on advanced research in this field. UW will seek support from the UW Valle Program, which supports faculty and student exchanges between Scandinavian countries and the University of Washington, to enhance the project and its activities. If applications from students participating in MEMPREX project are approved, this program will provide funding for one or two graduate students from NMBU for years 2019-2020, with a full fellowship (or fellowships) with a value of about 50 000 USD per year. University of Washington will bring in its expertise on novel methods and materials to control fouling in membrane processes. UW is collaborating with NMBU in two research projects (1) Water Magic Project with Prof Korshin and (2) NOM removal with membrane processes enhanced with HAOP pre-treatment with Prof. Benjamin. Prof Korshin is also a member of the scientific committee of the EWA-WMCC conference.
The Michigan State University (MSU) is among the leading higher education institutions engaged in research, development and innovation in the fields of water science and membrane technologies. Michigan State University has been a participant of two large grants (total USD 7 million) in the area of water treatment and membrane separations funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Partnerships for International research and Education (PIRE) program. The PIRE grants involved collaborations with partners from Singapore, France, Ukraine, and Turkey. We also have MS and PhD programs in a number of disciplines relevant for the topic of the MEMPREX proposal. Michigan State University will bring its expertise on separation of oil-water emulsions using membrane technology for remediation of water resources contaminated by oil spills clean-up. This is the first formal research collaboration between the MSU and NMBU, although Prof Tarabara and Dr Maletskyi, NMBU, have discussed various research collaborations for some time.
The Hokkaido University (HU) is Japan’s leading university in the field of environmental engineering, having produced several leading professors including the former president of the International Water Association (IWA), Prof. Norihito Tambo. HU has encouraged the public sector and related industries in Japan to apply membrane technology, while contributing to the development of the technology itself. HU Coordinator Dr Katsuki Kimura, has extensive research experience in the field of membrane technology and has established strong relationships with membrane manufacturing industries in Japan. He currently serves as the chairman of the Membrane Technology Specialist Group of Japan Society of Water Environment (JSWE). Furthermore, he is the chairman of the Particle Separation Specialist Group of IWA, in which he and the project manager (Prof Ratnaweera) have maintained a close partnership for a long time.
The Qingdao Technological University (QTU) has been recognized as one of the top independent colleges in China with its more than 47 degree and diploma programs. Since 2000 the University has undertaken 17 projects of teaching reform at provincial level, won a second prize for National Teaching Achievement and 32 prizes for Provincial Teaching Achievement, and has published 147 textbooks. QTU’s research group focuses on Membrane Bioreactor Technology for treatment of grey water and black water, and Membrane Filtration Technology for tertiary treatment in UF-RO systems. QTU has collaborated with NMBU since 2013, taking part in two international projects – Water Magic Project and the EU –ERASMUS+ project “Water Harmony” with 10 universities from Norway, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, China and Sri Lanka. The collaboration between QTU and NMBU started in 2011 followed by a Guest Professor assignment to Prof Ratnaweera. The collaboration led to a High End Expert grant to Prof Ratnaweera since 2013. Prof Bi is also a member of the scientific committee in the EWA-WMCC conference.
A-Aqua AS (previously Malthe Winje Drinking Water Systems) is a Norwegian supplier of membrane process based water treatment solutions, with focus on innovation. They develop and market solutions for emergency water supply systems for relief operations and temporary field installations, as well as module based comprehensive drinking water systems for removal of particles, microorganisms and heavy metals. The collaboration with NMBU in the field of membrane processes started in 2011, where several master and guest researcher projects were carried out on arsenic removal from drinking water. A-Aqua will provide a full-scale RO based drinking water treatment plant to NMBU (value 84 000 USD) to serve as the pilot and full-scale research base. This unit and a smaller pilot unit from A-Aqua will be used in educational activities.
In summary, most partners have an ongoing and documented research and educational collaboration with Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). The SIU High North Program funded Water Magic Project brings most partners together in educational collaboration related to general water and wastewater treatment where the membrane processes are natural components. The Water Magic project has an objective to establish an international research network aimed at the High North countries, for which the MEMPREX project fits extremely well. Most partners are also linked through the conference, conducted summer 2016, in Spitsbergen on water management in cold climates, the first initiative of the European Water Association to establish a forum among like-minded research communities. All university partners have master and PhD level teaching and research oriented towards membrane processes.