The 8th dex summer school was held from the 2nd to the 5th of July, 2017 in Rottenbach/Upper Austria at the headquarter of the dex supporting member VTA and for the first time had a second stop from 6th to 7th of July at the TU Wien in Vienna/Austria. In Vienna, the dex summer school joined forces with the PowerStep summer school to create the unique opportunity for young water professionals to attend lectures on cutting-edge research topics as they are investigated in the PowerStep project on creating energy-positive wastewater treatment plants (www.powerstep.eu).
The dex professors trained the attending young experts in their fields of expertise of drinking water, wastewater and energy engineering, as well as legal aspects of water and environmental management. The dex summer school was first held in 2009. It has since been advocating the distribution of practical and scientific knowledge on water and wastewater treatment to interested parties from all around the world. Each year, a special emphasis is put on reaching young experts from the new EU and -accession countries, to further spread the combined experience of the dex professors in the EU.
This year’s participants joined from Austria, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Rumania, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia. Not just the geographical context, but also the field of work varied between the participants. While some were employed in the fields of nitrogen removal, treatment of refinery wastewater or anaerobic treatment of wastewater, others had a legal background in development aid and partnerships.
Monday’s program consisted of contributions from Professor Norbert Jardin and Professor Norbert Matsché on the planning and design of wastewater treatment systems as well as legal aspects of wastewater treatment. In the afternoon, the participants could gain hands-on experience with respiration measurements, microscopic and microbiological sludge analysis, and cell and photometric tests. These exercises were held in the VTA laboratory under the supervision of the VTA expert staff. A tour of the VTA premises comprised the well-rounded end of the first day.
On the second day, Professor Franz-Bernd Frechen elaborated on the principles of membrane technologies and introduced the water backpack ‘Paul’, which is used worldwide for the onside treatment of drinking water in developing countries and in contaminated areas after natural disasters. Professor Wolfgang Günthert explained optimized primary and secondary settling
tanks design concepts, followed by Prof. Dichtl with a talk on sludge treatment and reuse concepts, as well as the dimensioning of anaerobic sludge digesters.
On Wednesday, Prof. Rita Hilliges and Prof. Marc Wichern rounded up the program in Rottenbach with talks on the ANAMMOX process and MFCs (microbial fuel cells). An excursion in the afternoon to the WWTP of the food processing company Spitz in Attnang-Puchheim gave the participants the opportunity to experience their previously acquired theoretical knowledge on wastewater treatment in its implemented form.
The second part of the summer school in Vienna was held by the leading experts in creating energy-positive WWTPs, which are partners in the EU PowerStep project. Prof. Jörg Krampe and Prof. Christian Schaum gave introductions to the subject matter with talks on energy consumption and production on WWTPs as well as the integration of WWTPs into energy grids. The PowerStep experts followed by giving an overview of the cutting-edge and novel technologies that are investigated in the PowerStep project.
Next to the knowledge and experience exchange in the lectures, the dex professors put a special emphasis on enhancing the teamwork and networking between the young water experts. This was supported by various activities, as the barbecue evening on the VTA premises, a hike to a local cider farm and the excursion to the WWTP.
The participants of the 8th dex summer school thank the German Experts Association for Environmental Technology and Infrastructure e.V., represented by the chief executive Robert Hossfeld and all named professors, the host and chief executive of the VTA, Ulrich Kubinger and all of his supporting staff, as well as the experts from the PowerStep project, for providing this unique opportunity of high-level knowledge exchange!
You can find the programm of the 8th dex Summer School here: program.