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Advanced technologies for treatment of industrial and coastal waters of the mediterranean region 1

Final Report Summary - MEDINDUS (Advanced technologies for treatment of industrial and coastal waters of the Mediterranean region)

The objective of the MEDINDUS project was to develop advanced technologies for treatment of industrial and coastal waters of the Mediterranean region. The project was divided into six interconnected work packages (WPs) which had the following objectives:

1. examination of the solution chemistry of industrial wastewaters and water coastal zone of the Mediterranean region, i.e. acquisition of knowledge regarding the chemical speciation in wastewater, in an attempt to synthesise novel receptors for chemicals' removal. This WP focussed on tanneries and olive mill industries and identified them as the principal sources of water pollution with toxic liquids, solid waste and polyphenols.
2. synthesis and characterisation of structural and thermodynamical selective receptors, along with computer simulation studies of the receptors at a molecular level. Ten new receptors were designed and their interaction with pollutants was demonstrated. Their thermodynamics and kinetics were also identified to quantify their affinity for specific pollutants and select which would be attached to silicates or polymerised.
3. grafting of the receptors into solid supports in order to obtain innovative and easily recyclable materials for water decontamination. Two alternative methods were used, namely the receptors' direct polymerisation and their attachment to silica.
4. process integration and development in order to utilise the synthesised materials to target pollutants found in the tannery, phosphate and olive mills' industries in the Mediterranean region. A financial analysis of the proposal was also performed to determine the associated costs and the investment return period.
5. use of soil applied receptors for toxic metal phytoremediation processes, including evaluation of the plants' ability for extraction of heavy metal cations, quantification of the underlying mechanisms by which plants accumulated heavy metals via the use of different coagulants and establishment of a comparison with existing technologies. The latter was not always feasible due to varying experimental conditions. However, it occurred that ion exchangers removed polluting ions as well as biologically essential ones.
6. increase of public awareness and understanding of regional environmental problems along with enhancement of industry and university links. An educational programme, including an international conference, taught courses and a radio appearance was planned and realised. Furthermore, several regional industries, associations, high schools, technical universities and companies that could be interested in the project findings were contacted. Finally, documentation on MENINDUS was prepared and distributed.

The project resulted in a large number of materials that were suitable for decontamination purposes and could be commercialised in the future at a relatively low cost. Prior to this stage further optimisation of the production was necessary, so that the proposals would be able to improve the environmental conditions, health and social welfare of non-European Mediterranean countries.