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Remediation processes

2007-2014 research work

Research work under this priority brings chemists from Strasbourg and Mulhouse and microbiologists together, interacting with other REALISE teams.

These scientific researches fall into two major subjects, on the one hand catalytic processes and new energy and on the other hand bioremediation.

1) catalytic processes and new energy

This part concerns the development of processes reducing CO2 emissions and improving energy resources control and  pollution rates reduction, particularly cars exhausts, considering the evolution of cars and motors. An important innovation consists of using biofuel in diesel-power engines. Today research should be carried out to develop efficient processes for the treatment of cars exhausts meeting future European standards.

Three scientific fields of study will be developed. They will refer to:

  • the activity and the stability of the catalysts for the remediation processes,
  • the selectivity of the catalysts which contributes to pollution prevention by avoiding reaction by-products,
  • the lifetime of catalysts according to their cost.

The research work, carried out internationally, aims at reducing precious metals content in catalysts and to develop their preventive and curative aspects in relation to pollutants (green chemistry).

These precious metals will ultimately be replaced by new catalytic materials : nanomaterials with carbon structure or mixed oxides with defined composition. This is why the activity of the oxides should be better known and understood. In addition, the catalysis will be carried out through catalyst-aided procedures, little known so far but innovative and promising. The LMSPC  obtained an excellence research chair in electrocatalysis to develop the process.

Furthermore, researchers aim at a better comprehension of the processes associated with fuel cells. Indeed, much more research remains to be carried out in energy converters, which provide electricity, water and heat from hydrogen and oxygen. Let us keep in mind that hydrogen will become a significant fuel in the coming years.

Studies on photocatalysis for the degradation of pollutants and bacteria, and the splitting of the water will be carried out so as to obtain new catalytic selectivities.

In order to help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a study of CO2 recovery reactions will be initiated. Very little research has been done on this kind of reaction. Further research activities will be carried out with model systems in laboratory-scale batch reactor tests by the LMSPC and  the treatment of  the exhaust gases on a engine test bench by the GRE. This study on engine test bench will establish bridges between upstream researches at  process and industry level. It develops the process on vehicles in its research and development team. Thus, a step-by-step line of collaboration, from fundamental research to industrial partners will be set up.

The collaboration projects between the LMSPC and the GRE chemists fit into the activities of the “pôle de compétitivité véhicule du futur” and also into the “pôle Matériaux" of Strasbourg.

2)  bioremediation

The plans raising the issue of decontamination processes involving biology refer to microbial biodiversity analysis at molecular level and its functioning facing anthropogenic stress factors.

This concerns a cross-disciplinary approach, associating environmental microbiology with various scientific fields  in the network : organic and inorganic chemistry, hydrology and numerical modelling. Even if research projects often focus on a fundamental research, they also aim at eventually setting up processes for biological rehabilitation of contaminated aquifers and soils by inorganic pollutants (heavy metals, metalloids) and by organic pollutants, especially organohalogens.

All these projects, being introduced in recent years, have already received support at national and international level, notably through genetic sequencing of several bacteria studied at the research laboratory, and at the Genoscope (the national center for sequencing), and in the joint Genomic Institute of the Department of Energy in the USA.

A project on the microbial degradation of the chlorinated methanes supplements a physicochemical rehabilitation work on  groundwater being currently carried out in Alsace. This project includes anoxic or oxic enrichment of tetrachloromethane resistant strains on contaminated water samples, and also the analysis of the microbial flora composition and its dynamics according to the tetrachloromethane concentration. Further work on toxic organic pesticides biodepollution technologies has also been started, together with the technological platform “Agrosystèmes” in Colmar.

The different scientific teams involved in the section n°3

Catalysis / processes

Laboratoire de Gestion des Risques et Environnement (EA 2334 UHA)

Catalysis / catalytic formulations

Institut de Chimie et Procédés pour l'Energie, l'Environnement et la Santé (UMR 7515)

Microbial ecology

Equipe "Adaptations et Interactions Microbiennes dans l'environnement"
Génétique Moléculaire Génomique Microbiologie (UMR 7156)

Microbial ecophysiology

Equipe "Ecophysiologie moléculaire des micro-organismes"
Génétique Moléculaire Génomique Microbiologie (UMR 7156)

Metals and microorganisms

Equipe "Transports membranaires bactériens"
IREBS-Biotechnologie et signature cellulaire (UMR 7242)