Urs von Gunten has conducted most of his research in Switzerland, but also worked extensively in Europe, the US and many other countries (e.g. South Korea, China, Vietnam and Australia). He holds a PhD in Chemistry from ETH Zurich and is a group leader at Eawag, a full professor at EPFL and an adjunct professor at ETH Zurich. He is co-author of a book on ozone chemistry – which has also been translated into Chinese – and has published more than 260 papers in scientific journals.
Ever closer to online quality control
In addition to his academic work, he has made important contributions to water quality in Switzerland. From 2004 to 2008, he led the transdisciplinary project “Water Supply for the 21st Century”, in which novel systems for improved drinking water treatment were developed and implemented. From 2013 to 2016, he was co-leader of “Regional Water Supply Basel-Landschaft” – a transdisciplinary project investigating various aspects of water supply, such as microbiological quality, micropollutant contamination, drinking water treatment, structural and organisational deficits, and groundwater management for safe drinking water. In collaboration with the Zurich water utility (WVZ), he developed an online measurement system to determine ozone depletion kinetics, which allows real-time calculation of disinfection and micropollutant oxidation at large-scale plants. This represents a major step forward in real-time quality control for drinking water.