The university campus is quiet during summer, but that does not mean nothing is happening. Annemerel Mol is a PhD candidate in Environmental Technology; she is carrying out research into organic desulphurisation of natural gas and biogas. Starting this month, she will work four-day weeks instead of five.
© Didi de Vries
She does not yet know how she will spend her additional day off. ‘I have an old barstool at home that I’ve been wanting to sand and varnish for a while. That might be a fun first project.’ During her master’s in Biotechnology, Mol organised music events for Popcultuur. ‘But I have no trouble thinking of other fun things that I would like to do. It would seem fun to join the board of my volleyball association, for example, or to work with refugees or do some other volunteering. As a volunteer, you get to help the world toward your image of perfection. That is what I like most about it.’
Table tennis table
It is clear Mol is at ease in organising in the workplace as well. It is thanks to her that a table tennis table was set up in the garden of Axis two months ago. It has become a connecting element between the various departments in the building. To strengthen the gesture, each department was given a set of table tennis rackets. ‘It is quiet in summer, but I believe the table is still used every day.’
Mol is just as enthusiastic about her work. Her research is on organic desulphurisation of natural gas and biogas. The gases contain both sulphur and sulphide. ‘That causes it to smell like rotten eggs, but also makes it toxic and corrosive; it should therefore be removed before the gas is usable.’ One method to do this is using bacteria. Large companies such as Shell already use organic desulphurisation. Through her research, Mol ensures the technology will become more efficient.
She does not mind that she works with companies that extract fossil fuels for her research. ‘Gas is widely used in the world, and we cannot simply switch to a mode of life without gas from one day to the next. Of all fossil fuels, gas is the least polluting, so I do support making a conservative industry a bit greener through this research.’