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The triboreactor as breakthrough remediation strategy for safeguarding human and environmental health

Project description

Using mechanical energy to decompose hazardous elements

Any transformation – physical, chemical and biological – needs proper energy for initiation and continuation. Heat is a common and ubiquitous energy source, but it faces the problem of entropy. Certain reactions under mechanical stimuli are empirically known. Yet, today, only limited specific applications can be found, such as small-scale ball-mill reactors. This mechano-chemical reaction features high energy density at the reaction site that is yet to be studied for wide application. The triboREMEDY project studies the phenomena with particular focus on energy conversion, developing novel reactors suitable for various industrial applications. TriboREMEDY will examine and analyse polychlorinated biphenyls and microorganisms of chemical and biological hazards.


Environmental remediation for safeguarding human health is difficult. Effective processes enabling scalable operability are lacking. triboREMEDY aims at solving this impasse by providing the foundational steps towards the novel technology called “tribolysis” for safe, controlled, and efficient degradation of hazardous chemicals and effective inactivation of the pathogens. The scientific and technological breakthrough of triboREMEDY is based on the generation of nascent surfaces, high pressures, and shearing forces that will supply the required activation energy for dissociation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and cell disintegration of pathogens. The centrepiece of triboREMEDY is the fully-controlled “triboreactor” in which mechanically (tribologically) induced chemical reactions take place as viable alternative to A) highly costly incineration or storage of hazardous waste, notably PCBs, and B) chemical, thermal inactivation or ultra-violet irradiation of pathogens in drinking water. The main project aim is to set scalable design rules for the “triboreactor” (proof of concept) based on the identification of PCB degradation products and pathogen inactivation pathways together with their relationships to operational parameters. In addition to this, the long-term vision beyond halogen elimination of PCBs and disinfection of drinking water avoiding chlorine treatments, will cover other toxic organic chemicals, application in chemical synthesis, catalysis free of critical raw materials, coating processes, requiring sensors for the monitoring of trace components, opening a wide new scientific and technological field. triboREMEDY will be driven by a multidisciplinary team of excellent researchers in mechanical engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, and medicine enabling the required unique breakthrough and interdisciplinary approach.
In last FETOPEN call, triboREMEDY reached score 4.15/5.00 and the suggestion of evaluators were considered for this new application.


Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 742 825,00
20600 Eibar Guipuzcoa

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Noreste País Vasco Gipuzkoa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 742 825,00

Participants (6)