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Enhancing water quality by developing novel materials for organic pollutant removal in tertiary water treatments

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - MAT4TREAT (Enhancing water quality by developing novel materials for organic pollutant removal in tertiary water treatments)

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

Mat4Treat project is framed in the context of researches concerning “emerging pollutants” and purification of water polluted with them, born within the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020. Mat4Treat aims to study new technologies for the tertiary treatment of wastewaters, with a specific attention to bio-recalcitrant pollutants not eliminated by the classical procedures.
The Italian Torino University is the leader of the project. The principal scientific aim is to develop efficient and eco-sustainable materials for water remediation, by means of separation processes, adsorption and photo- and bio-catalytic abatement. In detail, the examined substances belong to several classes of materials: from graphene-based systems, oxidic semiconductors with peculiar features tailored for the specific applications, polymeric and silicon carbide-based membranes, up to waste-derived bio-organic substances. The most promising materials, in the final step, will be studied by means of Life Cycle Assessment, which allows an evaluation of their potential interaction with the environment in their entire cycle of life. The project, organized following the experience of the researchers of Torino University in green chemistry field, takes advantage of precious international collaborations both in academinc and non-academic field. This wide collaboration network and the cultural and professional exchange, favored by researchers mobility within the project, become one of the fundamental pillars of the operation plan. Beside the scientific aspects, the project takes particular care of the implication on the community in a perspective of social integration. In fact, scientific dissemination is carried out at different levels (from PhD schools and workshops to laboratories for primary and secondary school students) as well as outreach activities by participation to successful events as the “Researchers’ Night” in Torino.
"The first two ideal blocks related to the project development, namely ""Materials development"" and ""Water treatment technologies"" were carried out, pointing out the most promizing materials and processes useful for model pollutant abatement. These materials have being tested with real wastewater in order to analyse the matrix effect due to the several components present in real waters. At the moment it is beginning the third and last block of activities concerning the ""Integration of Approaches"" which will bring Mat4Treat to develope a lab-banch apparatus for the tertiary treatment of water considering a membrane-based system combined with Advanced Oxidation Processes allowing the separation and the contemporary abatement of pollutants."
The development of the project within the consortium increased the knowledge of the participants in several fields, such as analytical, environmental, inorganic and physical chemistry, chemometrics, membrane and materials science. New non-expensive green materials, usable several times, were synthesized with the aim to remove and/or degrade the pollutants present in water bodies taking advantage of cheap and renewable sources such as urban biowastes, allowing to increase the interest of the society towards the differentiate collection of residues and towards recycle and reuse of wastes. The state of the art behind the synthesis and the application of such new materials proceeded with the publication of several papers in international high-impact journals.
On the other hand, some new materials, oxidic (doped and non-doped) and also hybrid, were synthesized in order to obtain highly efficient photocatalysts for the mineralization of pollutants and membranes whose porosity is specific for the separation of chosen substrates, also basing on thermal stimuli able in opening and closing the pores of the membranes.
Not only the consortium took advantages from the interconnections born within the project, since the Mat4Treat action allowed to wide the number of people aware to the thematic of water pollution. People awareness generates attention to the possible ways to maintain the water clean for human needs, and this is one of the main purposes of Mat4Treat action. To reach this aim, the project was presented in several scientific and non-scientific meetings, in form of poster or oral presentations to congresses and workshops, in form of laboratories for schools and general audience, in form of written communication in a widely diffused journal in Italian and English.
Mat4Treat consortium