esther de kroon wins national sustainability prize

Wetsus Academy student Esther de Kroon is this year’s winner of the best and most sustainable national thesis. On May 20th, she received the Rachel Carson thesis prize in the category university of applied sciences. The jury found her research into the use of vortexes for the aeration of (ground)water “admirable on scientific content, and despite very technical, accessibly written.”

“I never expected to win” was the first reaction of De Kroon after hearing the good news. “The other nominee had such a good thesis too, yet they chose me.” The jury – consisting of lectors, professors, previous winners, and environmental professionals, awarded the prize without hesitation to the young water technologist. Relevant, reproducible, and accessible were the keyword associated with her thesis.

Esther worked on using vortex as aeration systems as a topic for her final thesis. She has followed a double degree, combining Chemical Technology (NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences) and Environmental Sciences (VHL University of Applied Sciences). De Kroon: “Together with my supervisors Maarten van de Griend and Luewton L. F. Agostinho, I characterized the aeration capacity of hyperbolic vortexes and its application in iron removal. This efficient manner of dissolving oxygen in water improves the taste and color – by removing iron for instance – and is considerably more efficient than current methods and therefore a lot greener.” Much better, in fact, as her research even yielded a paper.

Even more surprisingly, it was a topic outside her comfort zone as an environmental and chemical technologist. “My drive for knowledge pushed me to study the topic in the first place and properly understand even better. Maybe that is why the jury was so content on my formulation.” And as an introduction to water technology, it can also be considered a great success as Esther now enjoys the courses of Wetsus’s water technology master’s program. In which she has already been asked to investigate the topic further. “Of course” was the natural response.

Soon we will see more of Esther and her research in the podcast Groene Gesprekken and the Milieu magazine. “It is great to share, as this is how we create an impact, making the world a bit more sustainable.”

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