Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - BIOGEOLOGICAL ENGINE (Novel bio-geological engineering processes for heavy metal removal and recovery)

The Marie Curie project has carried out a research program on biogeological engineering, in which biogeological processes (sulphur and heavy metal cycles, with particular emphasis on the transformations between the soluble and solid phase) were elucidated and engineered in order to develop more efficient treatment processes for heavy metal removal, recovery and reuse.

The research program is built around four research topics, corresponding to the team members, where heavy metals play a key role. These included:
i) bioavailability and mobility of trace elements;
ii) heavy metals for more efficient wastewater treatment;
iii) heavy metal removal by dissimilatory metal reduction; and
iv) optimisation of heavy metal removal by sulphide producing bioreactors.
Each topic consists of a blend of fundamental investigations on basic processes and applied work focused on bioreactors. Each of the research topics provided the team members training in various innovative aspects of environmental chemistry, environmental engineering and bioprocess technology.

The team was composed of the team leader, four experienced researchers (10 year experience) and three early stage researchers. The experienced researchers did research on specific advanced analytical techniques on metal mobility and bioavailability, i.e. chemical sequential extraction, stripping voltametry, DGT, Donnan membrane technique and Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and imaging. In addition, they contributed - together with the team leader - to the supervision of and collaboration between the work of the three early stage researchers. Each of the latter worked on a selected topic, but there is ample opportunity to collaborate among each other. Two early stage researchers have obtained a PhD degree upon completion of the project, and one will graduate early 2009.

The TEAM was originally established at the Sub-department of Environmental Technology of the University Wageningen (the Netherlands), but was relocated after two years at UNESCO-IHE institute for water education. UNESCO-IHE is a world-wide known institute in the field of wastewater treatment, focussing on solutions for world-wide problems, like the problems related to mining activities addressed in this team. The Marie Curie Excellence Grant allowed the TEAM leader (Dr Lens) to do independent research and to develop a novel scientific top-level research line with his own team. It has materialised a very concrete career step to become a full professor at UNESCO-IHE. Continuation funding is being looked for via the Dutch NWO program VICI and the European Research Council.

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