Dr. ir. Merle de Kreuk

Assistant professor wastewater treatment and anaerobic digestion processes

After my graduation at Wageningen University in 1997, I worked for 3 years in industry, at IHC Holland as consultant and researcher. Projects ranged from the dewatering of tunneling fluids to diamond mining projects. My main project was the development of an innovative technology for separation of contaminated soil and the clean sand fraction. This so called jig-technology was later applied in many soil remediation projects. After several years, I returned to academics for a PhD project at the department of Biotechnology in the group of Professor Mark van Loosdrecht (TU Delft). During my PhD I studied and developed the aerobic granular sludge technology from three litre lab scale reactors to the full-scale sewage treatment process Nereda®. The first application in the Netherlands was officially opened in May 2012, and currently many more installations are being designed and built by RoyalHaskoning DHV. Due to its compactness, low energy use and good effluent characteristics the Nereda® technology is proven a very good alternative for conventional activated sludge systems. The close collaboration with RoyalHaskoning DHV during the Nereda® development, made me realise that my passion lies in bridging academic research to full scale technology development. I strongly believe that these kind of cooperative studies lead to a rapid and useful implementation of academic fin­dings.  From 2009, I worked for almost three years at a Dutch Waterauthority (Hollandse Delta), where I started a project on the application of Anammox in the mainstream of  a wastewater treatment plant. This project was started at wastewater treatment plant Dokhaven, to solve the nitrogen removal issues at the limited underground space in this A/B system. This project was perforemed in collaboration with Paques B.V., TU Delft and Radbout University Nijmegen.  Furthermore, I was part of the wastewater treatment plant of the furure studies, that led to the “resource factory” concept, in which technologies are developed and applied to reach energy producing sewage treatment, as well as the recovery of resources as nutrients and water.

In 2011 I returned to academics again, to the section Sanitary Engineering. In my current profession, I focus on (municipal and industrial) wastewater treatment systems and anaerobic processes. I try to link the world of Biotechnology to the Civil Engineering, as well as the fundamental research to industrial applications. Main topics are hydrolysis processes in anaerobic treatment and aerobic and anaerobic granule formation processes.

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