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Projects (general)


Bio-inorganic nanocatalysts can be synthesised on the surface of bacteria, and such bio-inorganiccatalysts have emerged as interesting candidates for catalysing degradation of persistent compounds in the environment. The combination of active microbial cells with inorganic nanocatalysts for degradation of otherwise persistent compounds will be explored with the aim to identify the optimal combination of microorganisms, nanoparticles, and environmental conditions required for efficient degradation of the compounds.

Soil filters

Soil filters will be optimized in a way that sorption enhances retention time and the matrix supports biofilms able to degrade persistent pollutants. Finally it is intended to implement knowledge from the bio-inorganic nanocatalysts into these systems to perform reactions otherwise not possible.


Phytodegradation is a removal process based on plant uptake and metabolism as well as plant stimulated microbial degradation in the rhizosphere of plants. The degradation products of xenobiotics are conjungated with endogenous substrates such as sugars, amino acids, or glutathione, and finally secondary conjugation may occur forming insoluble residues. Plants also exude organic compounds and oxygen from roots that can be used to structure and support soil filters in respect of nutrients and oxygen supply. In this work package plant uptake and metabolism as well as the interaction plant-microbe-soil-degradation will be studied.

Biocides from Buildings

Biocides are used to protect buildings. However these biocides are leached by rain from the respective buildings. This project aims at understanding the processes relevant for the leaching of these compounds as well as assessing the concentrations in surface waters. For this project compounds from material science, engineering, and environmental science are combined.

Cleanwaters From Pharmaceuticals 2 (CWPharma 2)

CWPharma 2 is an extension project of Cleanwater of Pharmaceuticals:

Residues of active pharmaceutical ingredients from wastewater contaminate the water and of the Baltic Sea. In CWPharma 2, partners from 7 countries work on removing active pharmaceutical ingredients (Pharmaceuticals/API) from the main input route i.e. wastewater by verifying the effectiveness of the CWPharma guidelines especially on removal of APIs (3.4) from wastewater to decrease the input into the Baltic Sea.


BONUS CLEANWATER is a research project focusing on reducing the input of micropollutants and microplastic into the Baltic Sea by exploring, developing and comparing new eco‐technological approaches. The project will use four innovative technologies which will be explored and further developed to reduce micropollutants and microplastics in wastewater focusing on finding solutions that are both cost- and energy efficient. The project is a collaboration between universities, high-tech companies, and wastewater operators.

The solutions will be developed in close collaboration with the end‐users. The aim is to:

·         develop eco‐technological solutions for removing micropollutants and microplastic from contaminated water

·         determine the dominant source, wastewater or stormwater, for various micropollutants and microplastics

·         develop testing methods for analysis of xenobiotics and microplastics in storm‐, leachate‐ and wastewater.


Tests will be performed both in laboratory- and in pilot scale at selected wastewater treatment plants.


·         More energy efficient ways of ozonation will be explored and tested, with special focus on ways to decrease the formation of unwanted ozonation products.

·         Processes controlling the removal of micropollutants in moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBR) will be studied, based on the most recent finding of enhancing the removal for some pharmaceuticals by a factor of about 20.

·         Membrane based technologies will be studied with the aim to increase removal of both microplastics and micropollutants and simultaneously to increase the lifetime of the membranes.

·         Biofilters will be studied for their potential to remove micropollutants and microplastics in decentralized applications.

The project combines fundamental studies on how the respective processes are controlled with applied ones, concerning safety of operation, cost of operation and assumed energy consumption.

Project coordination, participants & contact

Kai Bester (Aarhus University) is coordinating the project. Contact : kb@envs.au.dk

Official Homepage of CLEANWATER