Even a Small Waterfall Makes Noise

Camilo Sánchez (ESR8)

Hi, I am Camilo (ESR-8), and I come from Colombia, a country rich in biodiversity where water is the most abundant natural resource.

I was born and raised in the countryside, in a small town surrounded by mountains and waterfalls.

There I had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful nature and to see how important water is for the development of the community, from coffee harvesting to energy production.

However, only a small part of the wastewater is treated, which has led to serious contamination of freshwater bodies and affected the environment.

That is why, since I was a teenager, my dream has been to ensure safe water for everyone. This has encouraged me to focus my studies on different routes to get a complete picture of water treatment.

During my undergraduate studies in chemical engineering, I joined a research group where I learned about advanced oxidation processes (AOP) that use solar energy for water disinfection.

Later, I traveled to Germany and Poland to continue my master’s studies in process engineering and environmental protection, gathering knowledge in biological and membrane technologies, as well as in beer drinking tests.

The idea of a triple E (Efficient, Economical and Environmentally friendly) water treatment system prompted me in the fascinating Zagreb to join the NOWELTIES ITN project.

My study concerns a microwave-assisted green synthesis of Au/TiO2/graphene oxide nano-hybrids for visible-light-induced photocatalysis. The main goal is to develop a material that can treat water using solar energy.

But technical and scientific knowledge are not the only things I learned during this journey.

In fact, I realized that in my triple “E” system two elements were added: Experience and Emotions.

Part of this journey includes all the extraordinary people I have met, such as my beloved wife.

Getting in touch with different cultures and ways of thinking, makes you appreciate the respect, the diversity and the variety of ways of approaching life. The others are the real reason why we are driven to act.

I am not sure where this journey will end, but my desire is not only to achieve professional goals but also to inspire people with the knowledge I am gaining.

I strongly believe that only by talking to people and sharing with them the work that we researchers do every day can we really preserve our water and the environment.