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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - triboREMEDY (The triboreactor as breakthrough remediation strategy for safeguarding human and environmental health)

Reporting period: 2019-03-01 to 2020-02-29

The key concept of triboREMEDY project is to use mechanical energy to promote decomposition of hazardous chemicals (such as persistent organic pollutants) and to eliminate harmful microorganisms. The main benefit of the technology that will be developed during the project is that it could allow to obtain environmental remediation without releasing undesired byproducts into the environment and avoids use of consumables per se. In addition, the systems to be designed will work on the basis of controllable parameters, that could be adjusted according to the selected target. This is a very novel concept because it is based on the use of mechanical energy to generate controlled chemical reactions and to inactivate microscopic biological organisms.
During the initial 12 months of the project, the hypothesis formulated have been verified through simulations and experiments. In the case of the PCBs, a large variety of simulations were run in order to identify the most important parameters to promote the degradation reactions. The experiments were realized with the objective to find the most suitable configuration for design of the triboreactor. In addition to the reaction efficiency, also the feasibility of the solution was evaluated.
For the elimination of the pathogens instead, the simulation aimed to find which conditions could maximize effect essential for the inactivation of microorganisms. The preliminary experiments realized showed that the equipment available within the facilities of the partners were not suitable to reach the needed conditions. For this reason, a big effort was dedicated to the design of a device that can be mounted on an available equipment. This device could be considered a first version of the prototype that will be developed in the next period of the project, and it could be even used for the final prototype.
triboREMEDY technology would be an alternative to the commonly used remediation technologies.
For the PCBs, the solution proposed have the advantage to be able to treat them even when they are mixed with other elements and contaminants. It could also be possible to optimize the process so as to obtain contemporary treatment of more varieties of waste. Another important characteristic of the method is that the secondary waste stream volumes are considerably reduced since the toxicity of the PCB is inactivated and the PCBs are still in liquid (or dissolved) phase after the treatment. It is expected that the reaction products from tribolysis will be mineralized compounds. It is expected that there will be no outgassing during the process and costs and risks should be low. Tribolysis could also be applied together with other remediation technologies since it does not change the state of the fluid and in this way, it could be possible to increase the efficiency of the complete process.
For water treatment, the device designed is based on theories completely different from the other technologies used for water treatment.
The characteristics of the processor make the system suitable to work also in remote areas, where it is impossible to have supply from the aqueduct or in situations of special emergencies as for example in flood affected poor regions, where it is particularly difficult to guarantee the disinfection of the water.