The Environmental Geochemistry and Atmospheric Research (EGAR) group investigates the chemical and physical processes responsible for the emission, transport, fate and removal of atmospheric pollutants that impact on human health and ecosystems. A major objective is to investigate measures (technological and non-technological) to improve air quality and reduce human exposure to air pollution. Main research lines include, air quality research, source apportionment assessment, atmospheric processes affecting air quality, aerosols and climate change (interpreting optical aerosol radiative effects), human exposure to air pollutants, including commuting, schools, occupational and other indoor and outdoor environments, industrial emissions and industrial wastes (environmental impact and utilisation).
EGAR research on Air Quality aims at understanding the chemical and physical processes responsible for the emission, transport, fate and removal of atmospheric pollutants with impact on human health and vegetation. The main objective is to investigate measures (technological and non-technological) to reduce emissions, concentrations or human exposure.
Atmospheric aerosols affect the radiative balance of the Earth-atmosphere system and the Earth’s climate directly through scattering and absorption of solar radiation. Indirectly, by acting as cloud condensation nuclei, atmospheric aerosols can modify cloud properties and precipitation. Our aim is interpreting optical aerosol radiative effects as a function of their chemical and physical patterns and source contributions.
Major knowledge gaps remain regarding exposure to fine and ultrafine particles in indoor, commuting and outdoor environments. Our aim is investigating the pathways of human exposure to air pollutants in both types of environments, and to understanding and quantifying the contribution of different sources to outdoor, commuting and indoor exposure.
Industrial emissions from large industrial facilities (coal-fired power plants, ceramic and cement industry, refineries) are important sources of air pollutants (SOx, NOx, and particulate matter (PM)) producing also significant emissions to water and soil. We develop research on characterising emissions of trace pollutants with a major environmental impact and devising and testing the efficiency of emission abatement controls.
Since the earlier 1980s we develop research on environmental valorisation of industrial wastes with special emphasis on coal combustion/gasification residues. These wastes may be hazardous and we devise and test the efficiency of valorisation processes as well as pollutants immobilisation strategies in case of waste disposal.