The main field of research of our group (MICROWATER) is the development of catalytic processes applied to water/wastewater treatment. Our research interests include advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), mainly Fenton and catalytic wet peroxide oxidation, and catalytic hydrodehalogenation.
The abatement of emerging pollutants has been our main target in the last years (with more than 50 papers published in this field since 2015). A wide range of micropollutants have been tested, including pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides and personal care products, among other. The pollutants listed in the EU Watch Lists have been particularly investigated. Cyanotoxins have been also recently incorporated to our studies as they suppose an increasingly important threat for both the environment and public health. Apart from the removal of emerging pollutants, the elimination of microorganisms (total coliforms, E.coli, P. aeruginosa) has been also evaluated. It must be noted that we have deep experience in the treatment of real water/wastewaters (WWTP effluents, surface water, hospital wastewater, sawmill wastewater, etc.).
We are especially focused on the intensification of advanced oxidation processes by ground-breaking concepts to make them more cost-efficient, sustainable and technically feasible. The development of inexpensive structured catalytic reactors based on ceramic materials (both foams and membranes) decorated with magnetite nanoparticles represent our most important approach nowadays dealing with AOPs. These catalytic systems are intended for micropollutants removal at WWTPs. On the other hand, catalytic hydrodehalogenation represents a promising alternative for drinking water treatment plants. This system allows the removal of the generally most toxic and persistent micropollutants, the halogenated ones, as well as the elimination of undesired disinfection by-products (trihalomethanes, haloacetics, etc).
Our research laboratories are fully equipped to perform the abovementioned water treatment processes at both lab and pilot plant scales, as well as to completely analyze both the water phase and the solid catalysts. We count on a high sensitivity HPLC that allows to analyze micropollutants at representative ppb levels.
The Autonoma University of Madrid is a modern university (founded in 1968), internationally recognized for their outstanding academic and research activity. According to the QS World University Ranking, UAM takes on the 192th position in the World (QS 2020). It currently counts with more than 30.000 students and 3.000 academic staff members.
The Chemical Engineering Department is composed by a young and highly motivated group of 50 researchers and professors. The environmental engineering research line is particularly productive, focusing on both water and air decontamination.