In the area of soil and other porous materials, this group leads research on electro-remediation, studying the removal of inorganic and organic contaminants from soil, CCA and creosote treated wood waste, mine waste, sludge, municipal solid waste incinerators fly ash. The aim is the valorization of the solids and the liquids (electrolytes), since the contaminants collected may be further reused as raw materials. The modeling of the electrodialytic process is also an aim, both chemically and mathematically. Another aim is the development of new analytical methodologies for the characterization of complex environmental polluted matrices and monitorization of remediation processes. At a national level, collaborations have been set up with National Institute of Biological Resources and Escola Superior Agrária of Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, and at an international level, this group is recognized for its innovative research (e.g. it started the electro-remediation of CCA treated wood waste), having strong bonds particularly with the Technical University of Denmark, University of Málaga, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT University) in Australia and the Technical University Federico Santa Maria in Chile. The nature of these collaborations is mainly in forming human resources, exchanging students at all levels, through research projects. Future research will continue to develop new analytical methodologies for the characterization of complex environmental polluted matrices and a new promising approach consists in using electrokinetic transport processes to recover nutrients and moisture from waste in order to recycle them.
In the area of air quality, particular emphasis in put in research involving statistics and spatial analysis related of data, monitoring stations representativeness, natural events influence in air quality specifically in the case of high concentrations of particulates, and also personal exposure studies and health impacts of air pollutants. A large group of collaborations have been set up with other research institutions at the national level particularly with University of Aveiro and health related institutes such as Ricardo Jorge. At the international level, the involvement has been closer in projects with Spanish universities (Polytechnic of Madrid and Jaume Almera Institute from Barcelona). In the area of air quality is playing a leading role in the evaluation of Sahara dust events in particulate’s levels (current proposal to incorporate a standard methodology for analysis is a proposal from the group with the Jaume Almera Institute to the Joint Research Center from the European Commission), and for spatial analysis of air quality data for personal exposure by using satellite imagery and specific statistics. Future research will continue to develop methodologies for visualization and assessment of air quality data and the impact of specific non-antropogenic events in higher pollutant concentrations.
In the area of water quality the group has the following aims: i) to investigate advanced (clean) technologies and to optimise conventional treatments for drinking water production, aiming to control emerging hazards, particularly cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins, and natural organic matter, disinfection by-products and nanoparticles; ii) to study the mechanisms and key operating conditions responsible for the water process performance, and the effects of water background organic and inorganic matrices; iii) to assess the performance of water treatment plants by the investigated water technologies. Future research will continue on the referred topics, having already financed projects to hold on.