Water treatment systems

Among the research activities of Proambiente, particular attention is addressed to the development and application of new techniques and methods for the purification / treatment of wastewater, in particular with ionizing and non-ionizing energies. The techniques defined A.R.P. (Advanced Remediation Processes) use different power energies (depending on the flows and volumes of wastewater to be treated) to obtain a high degradation capability of organic compounds from wastewater.
The use of equipment such as Electron Beam and Gamma Cell available at ISOF-CNR institute (partner of the Consortium) has been fundamental to increase the know-how of their use in the purification of water coming from civil waste and from agriculture, in order to favour their possible reuse.
In particular, the researchers of Proambiente Consortium test and develop innovative tools through the irradiation of aqueous solutions with different energy sources:
- accelerated electrons,
- gamma rays,
- UV rays.,
- microwaves
- ultrasounds,
that determine the production of OH radicals, which are the basic promoters of the degradation of polluting compounds present in wastewater. It involves mechanisms of fragmentation and oxidation that lead to the formation of CO2, thus reducing the amount of organic carbon.
These technologies are used by Proambiente researchers to detoxify the organic substances present in the waters and in particular the emerging organic pollutants (crop protection products, drugs, UV filters).
The continuous improvement of the techniques and their evolution in different fields has given Proambiente the stimulus to start the design and construction of a first operational prototype for the degradation of agricultural crop protection products, used in agriculture by means of spray machines, which remain on the bottom of the tanks at the end of the process.

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Atmosphere monitoring

Proambiente has the skills to characterize the atmospheric chemical-physical composition and structure in various environments, through different observational techniques (in-situ, satellite remote sensing and ground remote sensing).

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Systems for Agriculture

The agri-food industry represents an essential asset for the Emilia-Romagna Region and the introduction of new technologies and services / processes could represent a driving force for the regional economy in the related productive activities: food, animal farming, fishing.

Proambiente identified over the years various fields of application of its technologies in specific sectors of the agricultural industry, in particular related to:

  • development of imaging spectroscopy (hyper-spectral) instrumentation to identify, in remote sensing mode, indexes for the recognition of pathologies / problems in extensive farming and fruit growing;
  • development and installation of specialized sensor networks (eg NH3, CO2, H2S) and use of remote sensing techniques to monitor gaseous emissions in livestock farms, bio-gas plants, storage facilities;
  • development of innovative prototypes for the purification of pesticide residuals, to reach a good practice of disposal vs. the direct spillage in the ground.
  • autonomous systems for the monitoring of chemical-physical parameters in off-shore aquatic environments and lagoons characterized by the presence of aquaculture plants.This activity involves the installation of multi parametric probes (Temperature, Salinity, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Turbidity, Chlorophyll, etc.) on our self-profiling or autonomous mobile systems.

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Tools and sensors development


MICROSENSORS AND MICROSYSTEMS

Miniaturization of devices for analysis in analytical chemistry is one of Proambiente main asset. By using technological processes typical of Microelectronics is possible to create MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) made of silicon, both as stand-alone devices and as integrated components within more complex micro-systems.

By exploiting the facilities and the equipment located within the Institute for Microelectronics and Microsystems (IMM) of Bologna - one of the Consortium partners -, Proambiente is capable to design and fabricate limited amounts of silicon and silicon/glass micro-devices for analytical chemistry applications (eg.: indoor and outdoor air quality monitoring based on Gas-Chromatographic technique). The availability of a 250m2 Clean Room, in fact, allows the micro-machining of silicon wafers (10cm diameter) to fabricate a huge number of MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems) devices based on the technology processes of Microelectronics. By virtue of their extremely reduced size and relatively low fabrication costs, these devices are suitable for the integration into complex microsystems characterized by small dimensions and low power consumption. This is an essential feature for the assembly of low-cost capillary and distributed monitoring networks.

Examples of available MEMS devices:
- Silicon injector based on polymeric flexible membranes (pneumatically actuated).
- Silicon/glass pre-concentration cartridge to increase the amount of injected sample.
- Silicon/glass Gas-Chromatographic Column (packed, 55cm-long and 100cm-long).
- Silicon Gas-Chromatographic Column (capillary, 2m-long and 3.5m-long).
- Silicon/glass Thermal Conductivity Detector (TCD).
- Silicon Metal Oxide (MOX) Detector.

AIR QUALITY AND INDOOR COMFORT MODULAR SYSTEMS

Proambiente designs and develops advanced systems for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) and environmental comfort monitoring.
Our platforms integrate an open source smart unit with commercial and custom (MEMS developed in collaboration with CNR-IMM) sensors.
The electronic and mechanical parts are developed ad hoc for modular integration, from fluidics (air IN / OUT, sensor sampling chamber, zero generator) to temperature control.
Platforms implement our web services for:
1. Report data in real time from PCs, tablets and smartphones;
2. Check the station remotely;
3. On-board data processing algorithms.

Different versions of Integrated Systems and sensors:
- Indoor Base (T, RH%, total VOC, CO2)
- Indoor Plus (T, RH%, total VOC, CO2, NOx, CO, O2, O3)
- Farming Base (T, RH%, CO2, NH3, H2S)
Other optional sensors: BTEX, Black Carbon, Particulate Matter (PM), noise, lighting.

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Project Management

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The experience acquired by the Consortium due to technical, scientific and management activities carried on in industrial research projects strengthened the skills necessary to manage and coordinate European, National and Regional projects.
These activities are not limited to the management of funded projects but involve also the early stages of conceiving a project proposal.
In particular, it is possible to identify 4 priority actions that the Consortium makes available as a service for its members and third parties:
1) Preliminary study of the project proposal through the evaluation of ideas, based on the skills of its employees and of the associated CNR researchers;
2) Support for the creation of a partnership skilled on the subject matter of the proposal. This action also includes the activity of "scouting" - among members and contacts of the Consortium - of the most suitable partners to develop the project proposal as a whole;
3) Support in writing project proposals, especially for industrial projects or research issues related to environmental monitoring and remediation;
4) Management of the project that will ensure the control and supervision according to the pre-established work plan. At the same time, the technical, scientific and financial aspects will be followed as a whole, in order to achieve the general objectives of the project.

These skills have been acquired over time by the Consortium staff thanks to the involvement into technical, scientific and management activities of projects or work groups in industrial commissions.

Proambiente coordinated and managed as leader 4 POR-FESR and 2 Climate-KIC projects up to now, and is also involved in various regional, national and European projects as responsible of specific tasks of industrial research and technological transfer.

As far as project proposals are concerned, Proambiente consortium can make available:

- Specialized personnel with technical, scientific, management and administrative skills;
- Common areas for the organization of meetings or project events;
- Skills in the management of dissemination events / initiatives;
- Personnel skilled in the production of dissemination material (Brochures, Flyers, Videos).

 

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