The access to clean and safe water and basic sanitation are fundamental human rights. In contrast, water bodies have been worldwide deprived of their quality by the misuse of natural resources, causing scarcity of water, either by available quantity or by deterioration of its quality. Regarding quality, efforts to develop new technologies and processes that contribute to the treatment of water and effluents have been undertaken by the scientific community to guarantee it. Among the numerous contaminants frequently reported in water bodies, natural or synthetic hormones are particularly worrisome due to their action on the endocrine system of living organisms, even when present in low concentrations. Large-scale treatment processes of water and effluents do not adequately address the removal of such substances, necessitating suitability for combination with more effective treatments such as adsorption, advanced oxidative processes, and membrane filtration. These treatments can be associated to achieve more satisfactory results, as the recent uses of photocatalytic membranes for the removal of pharmaceutical compounds from an aqueous medium, which associates the best of the three types of treatment. The present project proposes the use of a submerged photocatalytic membrane reactor, operating with commercial silicon carbide membrane coated with TiO2 nanoparticles, using in the membrane preparation a sol-gel process, for the treatment of water and effluent containing hormones, namely 17²-estradiol, 17±-ethinylestradiol, estrone, estriol, and progesterone. The project will be developed under the supervision of Ph.D. João Crespo, who is a professor at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, coordinator of the Laboratory of Membrane Processes, Institute of Experimental and Technological Biology (IBET) and of the Ph.D. program in Membrane Engineering, UNL (consortium of universities and funded by the European Commission). It is a unique opportunity for immersion and academic-scientific exchange for the deepening of knowledge and constitution of this new line of research for the proponent. This opportunity will expand her competences for the treatment of water and effluents, contributing to the development of new technologies in the scope of Universidade Federal de São Paulo and for the training of human resources in the postgraduate programs in which the proponent operates.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: