Hannah Flerlage wins the Student Recycling Award 2021

UVA chemistry student Hannah Flerlage won the Student Recycling Award from the Dutch industrial association BRBS Recycling. She beat three co-finalists with her master’s thesis on the synthesis of high quality, sustainable and biodegradable phosphorus compounds from waste. From next January, Flerlage will continue her research as a doctoral student at the Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences in the group of Dr Chris Slootweg.

Hannah Flerlage. Photo: HIM.

Flerlage followed the MSc in Science for Energy and Sustainability and graduated both with Slootweg (Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences) and with Professor Annemarie van Wezel (Environmental Ecology, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics). His daily supervisors were doctoral students Joanke van Dijk (Van Wezel group) and Steven Beijer (Slootweg group).

In his thesis report, Flerlage focuses on a systemic approach to the production of organophosphate flame retardants adapted to the circular economy. The jury awarded him the prize for his innovative character, practical feasibility and potential impact on the industry. In addition, the jury was impressed with the scientific and substantive development to intelligently synthesize flame retardants and make them biodegradable and circular. Flerlage also received a lot of appreciation for the development of a conceptual framework that allows for further development and scaling of circular phosphorus for other applications.

Zero waste

Next year, Flerlage will start a doctoral research project with Chris Slootweg in which she continues to work on the development of sustainable phosphate compounds. It is part of the Science & Design Doctorate (SSD) program, initiated and supported by the Faculty of Sciences of the UvA. It includes a total of six doctoral positions, which together form the start of the new theme of the faculty “Zero waste”. With this, the faculty helps to solve the environmental problems that result from the current linear use of resources. This includes the (re) design of processes, materials and products to keep materials in closed cycles while meeting the needs of society. The six SSD doctoral students work closely together to strengthen the common aspects of their projects.

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