910078. Cellulose, Paper and Advanced Water Treatments

Faculty of Chemical Science

The Research Group, originated in 1990, was officially stablished in 2004. Nowadays, it is focussed on research topics related to the improvement of industrial processes, development of sustainable processes, use of secondary materials and wastes, circular economy and industrial symbiosis, treatment of process water and industrial effluents to close the water circuits, reclamation of urban and industrial water for water reuse, and minimization of industrial wastes. The works are carried out in two parallel lines, one fundamental to generate new knowledge, and one applied to develop and apply the generated knowledge to solve industrial and social problems. This close collaboration with the industry allowed to create an UCM-HOLMEN laboratory inside a company and it is proven by the high number of innovation projects commissioned by the industry (+80) and by offering industrial PhD positions. We have participated in 21 European projects and we have published more than 200 papers in JCR journals. The innovative nature of the works and the implementation of results at industrial scale has rendered several awards: Chemplast Award to the best Research Project for Industry, 2019; Ken Madderm Award, 2017; the first UCM Technology and Knowledge Transfer Prize in 2016; “IIBCC Excellence Award in Recognition of Outstanding Research on Inorganic Bonded Composites” in 2008. We have contributed to implement the first water reclamation plant to reuse high quality water in a paper mill.

The group counts with a state-of-art and well-equipped facilities for water analysis and water treatments at lab and small pilot scale (on-line flocculation control, membrane treatments, adsorption columns, aerobic and anaerobic MBR pilot plats, electrocoagulation, AOPs at lab and pilot plant, etc.). The group also have well-equipped facilities for cellulose and nanocellulose caharacterization, production and application. We also have acess to the Support Centers of UCM to carry out specific sample analysis.

Water is highly valuable being necessary to extend the limits of closure of the water circuits. The use of membrane treatment trains is generating concentrates difficult to be treated that sometimes limit the viability of the proposed solution at industrial scale. On the other hand, most final effluents are discharging emerging contaminants at low concentration to the environment since they are not properly legislated yet due to the difficulties existing for their removal and control. In order to minimize the presence of these high risk contaminants in natural waters, new technical and economical viable treatment chains need to be developed. In order to degrade most of the emerging contaminants advanced oxidation processes (ozone, Fenton, electrooxidation, et.) need to be integrated within the treatment trains. During the project optimal solutions will be developed based on extending the limits of cheap treatments and an adequate integration of advanced technologies.
Another approach will be the use of nanomaterials e.g nanocellulose to extend the efficiency of current adsorbent materials. We will develope and characterize nanocellulose products for their use in environmental applications. The project will focussed on reducing the nanocellulose production costs and on increasing the removal efficiency of different contaminants.
The main objective will be address considering:
– Extend the limits of coagulation and electrocoagulation.
– Integration of a partial degradation of recalcitrant contaminants to increase their biodegradability with a two-steps biological treatment.
– Final total degradation of remaing recalcitrant compounds.
– Use of nanocellulose products to extend the efficiency limit of current tratments.

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