Resource Efficiency and Environmental Quality

Principal Researcher:  Francisco Ferreira

The Resource efficiency and environmental quality thematic line is working within pathways where the Unit has been firming credentials internationally to evaluate and solve environmental problems, while reducing the ecological footprint through improved resources management and integrating social and economic factors. The research related with the thematic line considers:

(a) the complexity of the different environmental domains with their relationships, in a context of sustainable development, where the evaluation of environmental parameters are key for remediation policies,

(b) the need for innovative technological features that facilitate environmental monitoring, assessment and response, enabling feedbacks for better resources use.

 

The following issues are addressed:

Raw materials: New analytical methodologies for the characterization of natural chemicals that mediate interactions within and between organisms and with their environment, complex environmental matrices and remediation processes monitoring; Research on electrokinetic processes (EK) as an environmental tool for the recovery of nutrients from wastes, heritage conservation and contaminant removal from polluted matrices.

Water: Innovative technologies for water and wastewater treatment that will contribute to sustainable water management. Technologies like membrane processes, advanced oxidation processes and hybrid processes (membrane processes combined with activated carbon and biologic treatments) will be tested and optimized for target contaminants such as disruptive endocrine compounds and nanoparticles.

Air quality: New methodologies to monitor, assess, and forecast ambient air quality with the integration of multiple sources of data, especially from the most problematic pollutants such as particulate matter, ground-level ozone, and nitrogen dioxide, despite significant efforts to reduce polluting emissions.

Low carbon Economy: Research on integrated energy and environment modelling to assess policy options for future low carbon scenarios, by considering technology innovation, fuel shifting and energy efficiency options, changes in human values and consumption patterns, primary resources availability and assessing cost-efficient ways to make the economy more climate-friendly and less energy-consuming. 

Ecological economics and environmental management: the development of innovative approaches to the design of environmental policy mixes, combining economic instruments and regulatory approaches, namely though stakeholder involvement and mediated modelling – combining system dynamics modelling and stakeholder participation for scoping and scenarios assessment.

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