Presentation of Swiss Research Partnership Projects
Swiss Universities for Applied Sciences and Swisscontact
A development promotion program backed by SDC
Treatment of Wastewater Containing Heavy Metals (Shanghai, China)
Background / Objectives
A student exchange program between the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR) and the East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST) was initiated in 2003 by the Institute for Environmental and Process Engineering (UMTEC/HSR). During the last two years this program has been co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and it was extended with an exchange of professors from the two universities.
The specific technical objective of the project was the further development of a product called FERROPORE, which had been developed at UMTEC, and introduce it into the Chinese market. The product is an adsorbent for the treatment of wastewaters which are polluted with heavy metals. A further goal was strengthening the cooperation between the two universities, to advance the know-how transfer resulting from this cooperation and to extend the academic and commercial networks of the universities towards both sides.
The exchange students investigated if FERROPORE would also have positive effects on wastewaters with different pollutants, such as antimony, arsenic, phosphates, chromates or hormones. The conducted studies clearly showed the possibilities and boundaries of FERROPORE. Also, the understanding of the mechanisms of its mode of action was furthered. Furthermore, the adsorbent was tested in combination with a Fenton’s Reaction to oxidize organic pollutants whereas it served as an adsorbent and at the same time provided the iron ions necessary for the oxidation process. The feasibility of this method was proven within the framework of a Swiss student’s diploma thesis and the results have been promising.
However, FERROPORE is not commercially available to the Chinese market so far. But requests from potential customers suggest a demand and discussions about specific applications of the product are currently in progress.
Apart from technical achievements, the exchange program provided knowledge transfer for both universities. The Chinese students acquired a lot of practical knowledge during their work in Switzerland and learn about the pragmatic and focused approaches used at UMTEC. Higher education in China lacks these practical aspects and the Chinese industry will highly appreciate such skills.
Also the Swiss students profited a lot from the experiences they made during their stays in China. They got familiar with Chinese manners in business and private life. This equipped them with the ability to deal with other cultures and a great amount of flexibility in their future business live.
The exchange students, as well as the professors visiting the universities, obtained valuable insights into different (work-) cultures. Constructive dialogues about technical and cultural matters and helpful advice on specific questions helped both parties to benefit from the partnership.
Prof. Dr. Rainer Bunge
University of Applied Sciences HSR
Institute for Environmental and Process Engineering UMTEC
Oberseestrasse 10, CH-8640 Rapperswil
E-Mail: email@example.com; Internet: www.umtec.ch
Prof. Dr. Lu Jun
East China University of Science and Technology ECUST
Meilong Road; Shanghai-200237, PR China
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: www.ecust.edu.cn