SEArcularMINE is an EC funded Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation project (H2020 RIA).  Within this project a multidisciplinary team of experts from organisations across Europe and Tunisia, are working together to innovate technology and processes to recover raw materials in a sustainable way from highly concentrated seawater.  The individual component technologies developed by our different expert teams are currently being prepared for integration into a prototype of this novel multistep process. This prototype will be assembled and tested in Sicily in the final phase of the project.  The SEArcularMINE team have been closely collaborating since the start of the project, but happily the production and movement of hardware has now offered a number of opportunities for researcher exchange between research organisations within the project.  

As a PhD student at iBET in Lisbon, I recently had an incredible opportunity to spend two weeks at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Germany. My objective for this mobility was to contribute to the development of the Lithium Membrane Flow Capacitive Deionization (Li-MFCDI) prototype under the SEArcularMINE project.

This was an overwhelming learning experience for me. It exposed me to the challenges of project management and allowed me to personally observe the strategic planning and execution required for the cutting-edge research projects. Creating the Li-MFCDI prototype was equally challenging and rewarding. This experience taught me to succeed in the field of science, one must be creative, precise, and flexible. Collaboration with the innovative researchers at Fraunhofer-ISE was an inspiring endeavor that highlighted the significance of teamwork and cross-cultural communication in achieving the research goals.

I am grateful to iBET and Fraunhofer-ISE for this amazing opportunity.

Hafiz Muhammad Saif Ullah.