Funding secured for research project on the application of nanotechnology to water treatment in partnership with the University of Texas in Austin

August 06, 2020

The LSRE-LCM Catalysis and Carbon Materials research group has secured 300.000€ in funding through the UT Austin Portugal programme to support their research in the development of nanotechnology-based solutions for environmental applications.

Dr. Salomé Soares is leading the LSRE-LCM team, which will join a consortium that also includes Adventech (main industrial promotor), the Nanochemistry research group at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), and the Center for Water and the Environment at UT Austin.

The project is named NanoCatRed (Novel metallic NANOparticles on NANOstructured supports for oxyanion CATalytic REDuction in water) and will look to develop novel nanocatalysts for the removal of inorganic pollutants from water (nitrate, bromate, and perchlorate), towards the efficient mitigation of water pollution in natural water sources, and industrial and urban effluents. The catalysts will be based on the controlled synthesis of mono- alloyed bi-metallic nanoparticles with improved catalytic performance and reduced noble metal content. The nanocatalysts will take advantage of the fine tuning of the morphological, textural, and chemical properties of nanostructured carbon supports to further improve their performance. The new technology aims at replacing other solutions requiring higher monetary investment or more intensive upkeep and management, such as those relying on membrane filtration that result in the production of high concentration secondary waste streams. The application of catalysis creates the opportunity to promote the chemical reactions that transform the target pollutants in other non-harmful compounds, such as nitrogen.

The collaboration with the UTA’s Center for Water and the Environment, and the INL’s Nanochemistry research group, will bring together experts in nanotechnology and nanomaterials, namely in the development of metallic nanoparticles with a high catalytic performance at reduced noble metal content, and in the synthesis of nanostructured carbon supports with fine control of their physical and chemical properties. The research teams will closely collaborate with the project industrial leader Adventech in the design and manufacture of a lab-scale pilot reactor for testing of the catalysts in real conditions. The reactor will benefit from Adventech’s extended experience in similar advanced water treatment applications and their wide portfolio of industrial customers with the potential to generate contaminated effluents with the target pollutants.

The project will have a total duration of 36 months and will contribute to the formation of human resources and the expanding of the Laboratory’s experimental facilities. The project NanoCatRed - Novel metallic NANOparticles on NANOstructured supports for oxyanion CATalytic REDuction in water (reference NORTE-01-0247-FEDER-045925) is co-financed by the ERDF – European Regional Development Fund through the Operation Program for Competitiveness and Internationalisation – COMPETE 2020, the North Portugal Regional Operational Program – NORTE 2020 and by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology – FCT under UT Austin Portugal.

More info:



J.L. Figueiredo. A Relevância da Indústria Química e o seu Contributo para a Sociedade. Princípia Editora, Lda., Cascais, 2022


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