Research Agenda

The CRETUS Group works around 4 lines of research + 1 cross-cutting line.

The multidisciplinary nature of CRETUS allows to address integrative projects with holistic approaches.

An original orientation is offered, based on an interdisciplinary and holistic perspective based on the capabilities of the member groups. In this way, the development and evaluation of innovative environmental technologies is conceived under a sustainability framework, seeking solutions that minimize impacts and risks, trying to recover resources, through technologies that are economically, socially and environmentally favorable (E).

Water Cycle Management

The group has strong capacities for research in new water treatment technologies that range from the detection and treatment of microcontaminants in urban waters, the use of advanced techniques for nitrogen removal or the use of nanoparticles and biocarbons in remediation for the immobilization of pollutants and as catalysts.

Another focus on which one works is the modeling, optimization and control of processes from both a scientific and global management perspective, including social and economic components.

Other lines of research are part of the development of capacities in ecotoxicology and analysis of the quality of surface waters and of the marine environment, as well as in the research in meteorological numerical prediction and atmospheric dynamics in relation to the rainfall regime, or to the effects of Climate change over the water cycle.

Sustainable Soil Management

CRETUS groups have developed a solid trajectory in the analysis and diagnosis of soil contamination problems (edaphology and agricultural chemistry, environmental geochemistry, soil mapping, study and impact assessment, chemical speciation in contaminated soils or study of geobiochemical processes in extreme conditions).

Much of his research focuses on the development of innovative technologies for the remediation and recovery of degraded soils, such as the design of technosols, the immobilization of enzymes for the removal of contaminants from the soil or bioremediation through phytotechnology, which is one of the areas to be promoted in the coming years. The use of nanomaterials in soil recovery processes is another of the emerging lines of research, such as research around terrestrial carbon sinks and techniques to improve CO2 uptake, or the analysis of geographic information for the prevention and control of fires and other environmental problems

Waste Treatment and Recovery

CRETUS groups have open lines of research in the production of biopolymers, (one of its applications is the production of biodegradable bioplastics), in the recovery of biomethane and in the extraction of bioactive compounds of natural origin. The reduction of plastics and their replacement by recyclable materials; the reduction and reuse of food waste; and the use of biomass and production of biomaterials are some of the main focus of the European strategy for the circular economy and the recently revised Strategy for Bioeconomics.

Multidisciplinarity is especially relevant in this field of research, since research, from the social psychology of social attitudes towards the reuse and recycling of waste or by-products, can be decisive for the success or failure of strategies.

Monitoring and Control of Air Pollution

The CRETUS Group has several groups that have focused their research on air pollution monitoring, developed their own methodology to use mosses as biomonitors of air quality. Work is also carried out on atmospheric modeling, essential to be able to anticipate cross-border pollution or transfer phenomena between zones and agglomerations. The development of carbon sinks, capable of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and reducing pollution levels, is being investigated.

Production, Consumption and Clean Cities

The CRETUS research agenda has a technological environmental orientation aligned with the objectives of circular economy and sustainable development. In this sense, several lines oriented to the design of clean production processes (based on ionic liquids) are included.

In addition, the experience developed in environmental management allows the analysis of the life cycle to be applied to various productive sectors and to advance in areas such as eco-design, eco-labeling or eco-efficiency studies.

This line tries to start from the broad capacities of analysis and diagnosis of environmental problems to apply the study of the social perception of these challenges and their possible solutions, to generate business models and policies for cities and industry, which cover from the technical processes until the territorial organization.