Environmental Chemistry Laboratory LCE

The mission of LCE is to understand the fundamental principles and processes that lead to improved water quality in natural and engineered systems. More specifically, we are interested in understanding two of the most pertinent water quality issues, namely viral pathogens and organic micropollutants. While these two topics may seem unrelated at first glance, the processes leading to virus disinfection and micropollutant degradation are in fact remarkably similar. For example, the effects of sunlight are of great importance for the environmental fate of both viruses and chemical contaminants. Furthermore, the same oxidants (e.g., ozone) are used in engineered systems to disinfect viruses and degrade micropollutants. Micropollutant degradation and virus inactivation thus bear a great conceptual similarity.
Our long-term goal is to use the knowledge gained from our research to improve existing water treatment systems, and develop novel, more effective methods, if possible at a low cost.
The complex nature of our research topics requires that we use a combination of (photo-) chemical, molecular biological and modeling tools. We thus are an interdisciplinary group that involves researchers with a background in chemistry, biology or environmental science and engineering