Wastewaters coming from many (agro) industrial activities, as well as certain natural mediums ( ground water, rivers, lakes…) and inner air, often contain toxic chemical pollutants and microorganisms, which are not eliminated by existing treatments. In this context, the GPAO looks for the scientific understanding and the development of new processes for the destruction of bio-recalcitrant compounds and pathogenic microorganisms present in water and air. Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOP’s) such as photocatalytic, ultrasonic, electrochemical or chemical (O3, H2O2…) are combined between them and/or with biological systems.
For optimizing some of these AOP’s we design, prepare and characterize new suspended or supported nano-catalysts active for pollutant degradation and bacteria inactivation. For instance, photo-catalysts with widened visible light absorption are prepared by doping of TiO2 to enhance the using of solar light in environmental photo-catalytic remediation of microbiological and chemical pollution. We also explore different ways for preparing of self-cleaning and self-disinfecting (photo) catalytic metal oxides.
In order to contribute to fragile populations’ from Latin America and Africa, a long term collaboration is developed with universities from these regions especially in the development of solar photo-catalytic process for wastewater treatment and drinking water supply.