At the beginning of August this year, 9 students of the “Environmental Engineering” and “Environmental Science” study programs together with the lecturer went on a short-term mobility trip to the Cyprus University of Technology in order to get to know better both the university itself and the EUt+ initiative, in which RTU together with 7 other universities, including Cyprus The Technical University (CUT), is jointly working on the creation of the European University of Technology.
On the first day of the visit, the students visited the premises of the university, where they met with its teaching staff. During the meeting, the rector of the university together with the leading lecturers presented the activities of the university and were also introduced with the activities of the VASSI institute. This was followed by various campus tours. The students had the opportunity to see the university’s auditoriums and laboratories, while listening to Cypriot teaching staff talk about various research processes, some of which are also carried out at RTU, and some of which were a completely new and valuable experience. The technology center (CUTing Edge) was also visited, where virtual reality is integrated into the learning process and students with creative approaches can work with VR (virtual reality), robotics, 3D printing and other modern technologies. This department is also run by the students themselves, making the learning process more interesting.
As one of the most valuable activities of the visit, the students themselves mentioned the visit to the KEAN fruit juice factory operating in Limassol, during which the company’s representatives presented the company’s operation, the production line and showed various production stages, technologies and told about the implemented energy efficiency measures. During the tour, both theoretical knowledge about the operation of the company and the technical operation of solar collectors was provided, as well as practical – students were introduced to the operation of the entire production process, starting from raw material monitoring and quality control to the juice production process, solar collector control system and water treatment. The manager of the production process and the environmental expert gave clear and detailed answers to all questions, in general providing invaluable experience and knowledge, which young RTU researchers will be able to use later both when writing project applications and analyzing the operations of companies and looking for the best solutions for implementing renewable energy technologies.
As the students themselves say, this has been:
“Overall, a very valuable experience exchange trip, during which you could see various environmental technologies and solutions, compare the environmental problems in Cyprus with those in Latvia. Better understand the EUT+ idea concept and implementation plan. Get to know the representatives of the university and the local culture.”
Krista Laktuka, researcher at the Institute of Environmental Protection and Heat Systems
“The trip provided very valuable experience and knowledge of the academic process and laboratory work, as well as valuable knowledge of one of the leading manufacturing companies in Cyprus, where renewable energy technologies are widely used. The representatives of the University left the impression that we were welcome and the teaching staff were interested in joint cooperation with our institute, arranging to visit it already in the fall.”
RTU VASSI researcher Lauma Balode
“During the mobility, there was a positive overview of this type of university field trip programs, as it is possible to learn about different approaches in choosing energy production technologies, as well as the problems and opportunities that different regions face.”
VASSI Scientific assistant Jānis Krūmiņš
“During the exchange trip to the Cyprus University of Technology, we mainly gained contacts and got acquainted with the study directions, methods and various innovations, teaching and working approach of this university. We exchanged useful knowledge on various technical matters as well as laboratory issues. I personally really liked the trip, because in it we not only visited the university, its laboratories, local companies, but also got an insight into their culture, made new contacts abroad and got to know each other (VASSI colleagues) more, which promoted cohesion and will definitely have a positive impact on the future course of work at RTU.”
Ketija Bumbiere, M.sc.ing.,
Lecturer and researcher at the Institute of Environmental Protection and Heat Systems
“Overall, I was very satisfied with the EUT+ experience exchange trip where we visited the Cyprus University of Technology. It was interesting to get acquainted with the teaching methods and available infrastructure at the university, which made it possible to identify potential directions of development that could also be adopted by RTU. What I liked most was the organized trip to KEAN, the largest juice producer in Cyprus, where I had the opportunity to learn about the energy efficiency and decarbonization challenges faced by large manufacturing companies in Cyprus.”
Kristiāna Dolge, PhD candidate in the study program “Environmental Engineering”
“Personally, it was very interesting, because there was a lot of emphasis on the laboratories and specifically on the water purification laboratory, where they talked about the use of microbiology in it. We saw how microalgae are cultivated in flasks for water purification tests, and also, due to the fact that citrus processing is of great importance in the country, how carotenoids are tried to be recovered from orange peel waste (we ourselves will now specially grow microorganisms in the laboratory to synthesize these carotenoids in biomass as additional products for aquaculture feeding). Overall, a very pleasant impression of both the university and Cyprus. Everyone welcomed us very kindly and spoke with interest and encouraged discussions about what they are doing to improve and be more sustainable.
Indra Bērziņa, Master’s student in the “Environmental Engineering” study program