MERMAID public outreach on "Music for Life & Protos" sale

Two MERMAID PhD students, Silvio Matassa (Avecom) and Nicole Hahn (LabMET) took the unique opportunity to team up with researchers from the Resource Recovery Technology (R2T) consortium at Ghent University, which developed the specially brewed “From Sewer to Brewer” beer. As the name suggests, its main component, water, was produced by treating wastewater to drinking water (using membrane filtration technology). Both parties aim at raising awareness on current and future water issues, and emphasize the necessity of creating sustainable alternatives to the common water treatment. Since both PhD fellows of the MERMAID ITN are situated in Belgium, a country famous for its beer varieties, the water treatment approach to manufacture the “Sewer to Brewer” beer was chosen as a link to present their overarching research expertise on both sides of the urban water cycle (UWC): the wastewater and drinking water part. MERMAID researchers work towards the development of innovative technologies to efficiently close the water-to wastewater-to water-cycle in the most sustainable way, and this beer is an excellent, yet surprising example to “hot-wire” the UWC.

For the public outreach, they will share the science behind the MERMAID ITN, and the Microbial Resource Management & Engineering (MRM) strategy with the general audience that attends the Music for Life & Protos event, held at the faculty of Bioscience Engineering from 2-17 December, 2015. On two occasions (7 and 11 December, 2015) poster presentations will be given, making use of a full-scale reverse osmosis (RO) module commonly used in water treatment, and a lab-scale RO set-up in collaboration with other scientists, namely Prof. Bart de Gusseme (LabMET), Prof. Arne Verliefde (Department of Applied Analytical and Physical Chemistry), and Wouter Naessens, PhD student from the BIOMATH research group. Additionally, this framework of the Music for Life & Protos event coincides with the MERMAID goals as well, as the revenue from the beer sale goes to the non-governmental organization (NGO) Protos. They reach out to local NGO’s, farmers, authorities, and regional government services to achieve an improved and sustainable water management in developing countries. In Belgium, Protos aims to provide global education in schools, and to raise public awareness for water issues to make them a higher priority on the political agenda.

More information here on the Music for Life & Protos event.