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ADVANCED MULTIFUNCTIONAL NANOSTRUCTURED MATERIALS APPLIED TO REMOVE ARSENIC IN ARGENTINIAN GROUNDWATER

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NANOREMOVAS (ADVANCED MULTIFUNCTIONAL NANOSTRUCTURED MATERIALS APPLIED TO REMOVE ARSENIC IN ARGENTINIAN GROUNDWATER)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-12-31

PROBLEM
Arsenic presence in surface and underground waters is well known in several key geographical areas around the world. This is a harmful situation not only for direct humans intake but also through the food chain, e.g livestock for human consume. As an example, daily intake of arsenic polluted water by cattle in Argentina is becoming of increasing concern, especially due to the important size of the livestock export market where Europe is one of main customers. Reduced amounts of arsenic are observed in natural forage or alfalfa grown without irrigation and used to feed livestock. Thereby, drinking water is considered the main source of arsenic for cattle (several studies reveal arsenic concentrations in phreatic water samples above 0.15 mg/L, the level that suggest causing chronic intoxication in cattle). Therefore, there is a risk of exposure for the human health due to the introduction of arsenic in the food chain through milk or meat in addition to water. Known figures about daily water consumption by cows are established around 70 L/day. Having in mind the usual estimates in small remote farms of 10-20 cow, and in medium farms around 100-120, that reveals the need of on-site water treatment systems able to treat at least 700-1.500 L/day and 7.000-8.400 L/ day, providing an effluent with an arsenic content below 10 ug/L. In view of arsenic toxicity and the large number of people exposed to its effects worldwide, there is a clear need for the implementation in remote exploitations of affordable and sustainable treatment methodologies to provide potable water for human beings and cattle.
AIMS
To face this problem, NANOREMOVAS pursues to develop and implement a pilot plant for the remote treatment of arsenic polluted waters based on the application of state-of-art advanced multifunctional nanostructured materials tested at the laboratory level, that overcome the limitations of some existing commercial products providing better performance in terms of adsorption capacity as well as the reagentless regeneration characteristic, large throughput yet at much lower costs. Furthermore, the implementation of such technology is being carried out through the cooperation between the industry and academia within the water treatment sector by a series of research training and career development activities together with knowledge sharing. NANOREMOVAS is establishing a lasting, international partnership for transfer of knowledge within the involved research topics as a result of the detected industrial needs, especially regarding the arsenic polluted groundwater in Argentinean, providing the appropriate transfer of knowledge in addition to an increase of skilled human resources. Besides, the research and innovation to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the developed water recycling technique, the seconded researchers are carrying out a series of tasks and outreach activities, promoting entrepreneurship culture and support of young innovative companies in order to set-up technological partnerships within the water sector. Furthermore, NANOREMOVAS represents a significant contribution to knowledge and technology transfer from the academia to the industrial sector, through well-established reputation partners as transfer hubs. NANOREMOVAS will lead to quickly creating designs and industrial equipment/processes/models for economic use out of the newest scientific results.
WP1 Successful mineralogical and geochemical characterization of the target area that also is complemented by groundwater characterization and monitoring. Available information through D1.1 and D1.2
WP2 2 different adsorption materials designed, prepared, characterized and tested homogeneous distribution of SPION particles impregnated on the surface of Forager Sponge, PAN-CNT/TiO2-NH2 nanofibers composites and Mesoporous Silica Nanoparticles/Polyacrylonitrile nanofibres composites (PAN nanofibers/MSiO2 NPs). Such materials are being evaluated to optimize stability/aging/selectivity of adsorbent materials for the removal of arsenic under the demonstrator functioning conditions. Further information available through D2.1-D2.2.
WP3 2 pilot plants, one in Spain and one in Argentina, available as demonstrators to implement the developed materials. Monitoring test confirm feasibility and viability of project concept. Initiated demonstration to stakeholders. Further information available through D3.1-D3.3.
WP4 Developed the corresponding training of individuals of different institutions in terms of innovation management skills, technical assistance and appropriate management of intellectual property rights to ensure the knowledge and technology transfer. Further information available through D4.1.
WP5 Dissemination and Communication Strategy developed and implemented to have the highest possible impact, especially to exploit the potential of long lasting cooperation among the involved partners as well as to create new networks to consolidate and widen the existing ones among the academic and industrial communities involved. The strategy includes a developed promotional kit employed by the partners. Further information available through D5.1 and D5.2
WP6 Implemented a management framework that ensures the achievement of project aims within the time and budget and ensures communication and coordination among the partners and with the REA, including the employment of a quality assurance procedure to check project performance, impact, risks and visibility. Further information available through D6.1
IMPACT
Enhancement of research- and innovation-related human resources, skills, and working conditions to realise the potential of individuals and to provide new career perspectives, through the performed secondments (e.g. Grant writing skills for SME secondees, Entrepreneurship culture, Knowledge transfer through scheduled outreach activities to train and demonstrate secondee’s ability to communicate and disseminate their research and finally a strategic platform in order to prepare future participation in the different calls)
Establishment of new and lasting research collaborations resulting from the intersectorial and/or international secondments and the networking activities
Access to large infrastructures, e.g. ALBA CELLS synchrotron at UAB (i.e. study of thermodynamics and selectivity), which is helping to develop new nanomaterials to deal with polluted effluents, through the understanding of the mechanisms of interactions between the adsorbent and the pollutant.
Engagement of sufficient critical mass to create new synergies and to start the necessary brain-gain and training efficiently at EU level and stimulate new collaborations for future research and innovation.
General description of the project