Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: How and why are organic micropollutants biotransformed?

Professor Juan Lema

In the second part of the 19th Century engineers realised that Nature was incapable of coping with water pollution and that some measures should be taken to restore the equilibrium in rivers and lakes. The concept of “Sanitary engineering” then appeared, where the main objective was to minimise the impacts of the pollution on health and economy of the human being. From the last quarter of the 20th Century, two concepts concerning the relationship with Nature were being adopted by an increasing fraction of citizens: Environmentalism, whose major aim is to protect Nature, independently of the benefits to humans; and Sustainability which states that growth should be limited by the preservation of natural resources.

These ideas heavily influenced the goals and methodology of engineers from a “Sanitary” to an “Environmental” vision. The 3R concept can be applied to wastewater treatment, under a double point of view: Objectives (Reduce, Recycle and Reuse) or Technological (Retrofit, Re-Think and Re-imagining). Some selected examples of novel technologies, which have been or are currently being developed by our Research group (“Biogroup”) at University of Santiago de Compostela, will be analysed under the 3R concept applied to wastewater. They include: Anammox processes (ELAN process), Granular sludge reactors, Reactors for micropollutants removal (SemPAC process), simultaneous methane and nitrate removal (SIAM process), Optimum blending for anaerobic co-digestion, new wastewater treatment schemes (Pioneer and RunxLife projects), bioplastics production, and a Decision Support System for selecting wastewater treatment technologies.

Speaker Bio:

Juan M. Lema ( is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). He is a Fellow of the International Water Association (IWA), supervisor of 51 PhD Thesis, author of more than 350 papers and book chapters (H index: 50, Scopus) and 11 patents (3 European), and editor of the book: Innovative Wastewater Treatment & Resource Recovery Technologies published by IWA. His current research interests include: Removal of micropollutants from wastewater; Anaerobic co-digestion; Development of innovative wastewater treatment plants; Biorefinery (selective production of VFA, bioplastics). Juan M. Lema is spending a sabbatical period at AWMC until 17th March. Researcher ID: F-6718-2016; Orcid Code: 0000000156162584; Google academics: Juan M. Lema

Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 16 February 2018
9am - 10am
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room

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