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Advanced Treatments for Water Sustainability in Europe and China

Final Report Summary - WATECH (Advanced Treatments for Water Sustainability in Europe and China)

Advanced Water Treatment solutions for Europe and China: WATECH.
WATECH was a starting nucleus of transnational network of research between Europe and China in the field of water treatment and reuse. The partners of the consortium were:
From Europe:
1.Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Barcelona, Spain (Project coordinator Dr. Carmen Sans)
2. Institut de Sciences et Ingénierie Chimiques (ISIC). Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Coordinator Dr. Cesar Pulgarin)
From China:
3. Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Coordinator Dr. Zhimin Qiang)
4. College of Environmental Science & Engineering. Tong Ji University. (Coordinator Dr. Sui Minghao)

During three years (from November 2012 to October 2015) WATECH involved 16 staff from the four institutions in a program which include researchers exchange, workshops and sharing publications aimed at developing research collaboration between the two regions (Europe and China) in the field of advanced water treatment. WATECH was funded by the EU’s FP7 Marie Curie International Research Staff Scheme (IRSES).

The main objective of WATECH was to identify the main problems of water pollution and sustainability in Europe and China and to share knowledge of advanced treatment technologies that allow the proposal of solutions to pollution problems. Moreover, we wanted to create the links and relations between Chinese and European institutions within the framework of the environment and water sustainability.
More specifically, the project had the following objectives:
. to reinforce cooperation between European partners and Chinese institutions for the purpose of developing long-term research partnership, at an organizational level
. to investigate various aspects of emerging technologies in future water treatment and water sustainability for the provision of reliable, safety and high-performance water management services
. to enhance research quality and lift the scientific competence of the participating organizations through joint research activities
. to educate more and better qualified ESRs and ERs at the international level

In order to accomplish with these objectives, WATECH was organized in 5 work packages. Work packages 1, 2 and 3 were devoted to the study the water cycle with the specific problems of each country and the application of our specialties for the proposal of technical solutions for the appropriate water sustainability policy. Thus, WP 1 developed new technologies for drinking water treatment; WP 2 was devoted to propose technical solutions for wastewater disposal to minimize wastewater-impacted surface waters, and WP 3 focused on advanced technologies for water reuse and sustainability. Work package 4 mission was dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge between participant institutions, and also to scientific community. Finally, work package 5 assured the proper management activities to accomplish with all the previous objectives.

The WATECH project was carried out through 62.5 highly successful secondments between European and Chinese. European experienced researchers gave 3 seminars and workshops, and WATECH participants presented their results in 6 presentations in international conferences and resulting 10 papers (2 published, 3 submitted and 5 in preparation) in international peer-review journals.

Specifically, the work packages yielded the following scientific achievements:

Work package 1 developed new water treatment technology for drinking water quality improvement. Thus, new technology based on the developing of new catalyst based on Ag nanoparticles was developed for accomplishing economical and effective water disinfection. Moreover, the study of the removal of the emerging contaminant Metoprolol tartrate salt (MTS) from drinking water was also performed though two methods: A simple transition-metal-free method involving bicarbonate -activated hydrogen peroxide (BAP) method and 2. and an oxidative degradation by Cobalt- Bicarbonate – Hydrogen peroxide (Co2+ -HCO3-/ H2O2) system. The evaluation of permanganate for micropollutant removal and the effect of water matrix on the kinetic s of the process were also studied. Finally, the organic and inorganic fouling of UV lamps sleeves during UV treatment was included as research topic of WP 1.

Work package 2 allowed studying the performance of advanced oxidation processes like ozonation and the combination of UV-C radiation with hydrogen peroxide for the removal of a group of emerging contaminants like organophosphorous flame retardants, which are present in high quantities in European and Chinese wastewaters treatment plants effluents. Moreover, new active visible-light-driven photocatalysts for heterogeneous photocatalytic process, for antibiotic oxidation and removal were developed (Ag3PO4, Ag3PO4-graphene, Ag/Ag3PO4-graphene and TiO2/Cu@Raschig rings catalysts), resulting on the collaborative efforts between WATECH partners. Finally, the investigation of the performance of Fe(III)/GA/H2O2 Fenton system was also included in WP2.

Work package 3 focused of the effect of UV-C radiation on the removal of pharmaceuticals and/or the formation of byproducts when radiation is used for effluents wastewater treatment plant disinfection and reuse. Pharmaceuticals like calcium channel blockers (more specifically amlodipine, diltiazem and verapamil) and antiepileptic drug like lamotrigine, compounds present in effluents and natural waters were the target pollutants. Moreover, the collaborative work between WATECH partners allowed developing a mini-fluidic tubular VUV photoreaction system (MFPS), which was successfully applied for pollutant degradation by photo-Fenton process.

WATECH researchers’ exchanges, workshops and collaborative writing have created multiple links between professors and young researchers from the participant European and Chinese institutions. Participants gained deep knowledge and appreciation from each other’s expertise which resulted highly complementary and fruitful. Although the organization and operation of research groups and institutions have some differences between the two regions, the exchange program enabled the reciprocal transfer of complementary knowledge between the members of the consortium and the creation of a starting nucleus of new transnational network between EU and China in the field of water treatment and sustainability.
The direct resulted knowledge from WATECH project in the field of water quality and treatment contributes to water managers with new tools for more efficient and economic technical solutions for the appropriate water sustainability policy.