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Thesis subjects 2018-2019

The research units of the Department of Mathematical Modelling, Statistics and Bioinformatics provide excellent and challenging thesis subjects. See the list below to find the subject that you find most interesting and download the complete project description.

Developing an innovative mixing and aeration control strategy to save (a lot of ) energy in wastewater treatment plants

Aeration accounts for more than 50% of operational wastewater treatment costs, so in that area, there still is a lot of optimization potential. You will use the existing CFD (computational fluid dynamics) models to ‘play’ with propeller speeds and aeration flow rates. You will try to maximize oxygen transfer efficiency, with the least amount of energy. If you succeed, it will be an important finding for the sector. The thesis is in close collaboration with UGent spinoff company AM-TEAM, and it will be directly hands-on modelling due to prior experience.

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Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling applied to Anaerobic Digesters

Anaerobic digestion is a mature technology and a serious candidate for the production of renewable energy to support a sustainable development. However, these systems are poorly understood and considered ‘black boxes ’. This thesis aims to develop a Computational Fluid Dynamics model to study how the fluid moves inside the ‘ black box ’ reactor, and will enable the student to learn how to use advance modeling techniques that are highly demanded by industry.

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Development of a python package for improved data analysis

We cannot expect a dynamic model to predict reality when we don't feed it with real (or at least realistic) data. Data analysis is therefore a very important part of a modelling effort. A python package to provide a streamlined workflow for the analysis of data in a wastewater treatment context is currently under development, and the thesis student will have the opportunity to help develop this package further partly based on his/her own interests. Options include statistical methods, the use of big data algorithms or the making of a user interface.

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Towards improved design of High-rate activated sludge systems as a key towards energy positive wastewater treatment

Wastewater treatment is worldwide most common based on conventional activated sludge (CAS) processes, which are energy-intensive and focus on removal of organic carbon and nutrients rather than recovery. To address these problems, engineers have taken a renewed interest in high-rate activated sludge (HRAS) system due to their suitability to recover efficiently energy-rich organic carbon from wastewater as sludge for biogas production. However poor floc formation is often an important bottleneck in full-scale applications, limiting the amount of energy that potential could be recovered. A more thorough understanding of the flocculation processes and its influencing factors is thus required to design and operate these system in a reliable way. In this thesis, we will combine experimental work and Computational fluid Dynamics to study floc formation processes in a full-scale HRAS, reactor located at the Wastewater Treatment Plant of Breda (The Netherlands).

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Een beslissingsondersteunende tool voor verschillende waterzuiveringstechnieken (A decision support tool for water-fit-for-use)

Door een tekort aan zoetwater en om aan de vraag naar proceswater te voldoen, hebben industriële waterzuiveringsbedrijven te kampen met een sterk variëerend voedingswater. Om op deze veranderingen te kunnen anticiperen, spelen het ontwerp en het beheer van waterzuiveringsinstallaties een cruciale rol. Beslissingen hieromtrent zijn heden gebaseerd op expertise en eenvoudige modellen. Bovendien wordt bij deze bedrijven veel data online verzameld maar niet gebruikt. Met een beslissingsondersteunende tool, ontworpen met behulp van de verzamelde data, kunnen ook dynamische condities en alternatieve configuraties worden gesimuleerd. Omgekeerde osmose is de eerste waterzuiveringstechniek die wordt behandeld. Het doel van deze thesis is het helpen ontwikkelen van deze beslissingsondersteunende tool aan de hand van een combinatie van modelleren en experimenteel werk.

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Predicting the effect of mitigation measures at navigation locks on fish behaviour

Navigation locks and other man-made structures in rivers can seriously hamper fish migration. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling can be used to quantify the hydrodynamics in the vicinity of these structures. Before implementing mitigation measures, possible scenarios have to be investigated. The objective of this thesis is to simulate different scenarios by use of CFD modelling, in order to predict the effect of mitigation measures on fish behaviour.

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Optimalisatie drinkwaterzuivering via koppeling procesdata aan meetresultaten bacmon-sensoren

In de drinkwaterzuiveringsinstallaties van waterbedrijf Pidpa wordt een enorme hoeveelheid aan uiteenlopende procesdata gegenereerd. In 2017 werd het gebruikte gamma aan kwaliteitsmetingen uitgebreid met Bacmon-sensoren voor online waterkwaliteitsmonitoring. Om het potentieel van deze nieuwe sensoren ten volle te benutten is er o.a. nood aan een structuur voor de koppeling van data uit verschillende gegevensbronnen voor verdere analyse en een systeem om op een gestructureerde wijze de variaties in de bekomen data te kunnen verklaren door het opzetten van verklarende modellen, statistische analyse.

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Model-Based design of electrodialysis systems to reduce fouling

Biochemicals and biofuels are rapidly gaining importance as building blocks for a sustainable economy. A major challenge in the production of biochemicals is the extraction of the product from the reaction medium. Electrodialysis (ED), a separation process that employs an electric field and ion-exchange membranes, is able to separate charged components efficiently and selectively from a solution and is well-suited for this task. In practice, however, these ED installations are very susceptible to fouling which reduces their performance drastically. Mitigating fouling in ED is therefore of high interest to the bio-based industry and the main objective of this master thesis. Given the process complexity, a mathematical model will be used to describe the electrochemical and physical processes occurring in an ED unit. Such a model can then be used to optimise the operation and test innovative designs.

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Last update: 3 December 2013, webmaster@biomath.ugent.be

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