Research team

Expertise

The main research focus is sustainable air purification using either advanced, emerging technologies (photocatalysis) or eco-technological solutions (using microorganisms or vegetation to capture particulate matter in urban environments). We strongly focus on the use of physical models (CFD, Multiphysics) to analyze, design and develop new air purification technologies and strategies. This approach has strengthened both the fundamental research of the group as well as the application driven part of the process line. Fundamental research includes model based characterization and assessment of photocatalytic coatings by a thoughtful correlation of controlled experiments and models (an in house developed new method to determine intrinsic kinetic parameters) and the study of particulate matter (PM) deposition on vegetation. On the application side, we design, develop and assess photocatalysis based reactors based on the fundamental insights and models for airflow, light distribution, mass transfer of pollutants and chemical reaction kinetics. We hereby use photocatalysis as a platform technology that can be introduced in other, combined technologies (for example electrostatic precipitators). Another research field is the development of novel and innovative semi-active photocatalytic systems and solutions suitable for cities. To this end, we also develop urban air quality models to assess the impact of the air purification strategies that we develop. This involves the coupling of air quality models and mesoscale climate models to investigate the impact of innovative mitigation solutions (photocatalysis, eco-technological and other solutions).

Knowledge and innovation platform for urban liveability. 01/01/2024 - 31/12/2024

Abstract

Optimizing the quality of life in cities is a global topic within the internationally recognized scope of societal challenges. That is why mitigating measures are introduced in construction projects (whether or not required under the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure) to, among other things, moderate air quality, mitigate urban heat and minimize noise pollution. However, the concrete implementation (and monitoring) of measures is very difficult, as a result of various bottlenecks in the market. Even more, the public awareness on the issues related to urban liveability and their impact on human health is increasing, resulting in an increased demand for rapid interventions, and a clear communication to the population. The current project proposal fits within a series of research projects, which started with a doctoral research on spatial interventions for the optimization of air quality in cities (PhD D. Voordeckers under the supervision of Prof. M. Van Acker). Within this PhD, instruments were developed for monitoring, designing and analyzing measures to improve air quality. These instruments were identified through a fundamental market survey (within the framework of the next IOF POC proposal) as highly relevant for improving the implementation process of spatial measures for optimizing the quality of life in cities and in the vicinity of major traffic roads. The survey of various actors (e.g. VMM, Environment Department, VITO, Arcadis, Maat-Ontwerpers, De Werkvennootschap, etc.) resulted in the detection of three major gaps in the market: (1) the lack of a knowledge partner to provide design support and to bridge the knowledge gap between engineering firms and architects/urban planners; (2) the lack of monitoring of the quality of life in cities and the impact of measures and (3) the lack of a partner with overarching knowledge about the various aspects of quality of life (air quality, heat and noise) to support decision-making between different measures. In order to respond to this market opportunity, the current project proposal (IOF-POC) focuses on the deeper, complex and practical development of the expertise, with the aim of establishing an Urban Liveability Platform (ULP) that can dynamically fill the market gaps. The platform bundles technical (CFD simulations and measurements) and design (design research) expertise, developed within a multidisciplinary team (SRP & DuEL), and uses this to act as a bridging partner between the expertise of engineering firms and spatial planners. On one hand, the project focuses on improving and broadening the expertise (in addition to air quality, also heat and noise) and centralizing this within one platform. On the other hand, a further commercial development is envisioned, in which the number of industrial contract agreements will be expanded within the scope of this platform.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Indoor air bioremediation: Botanical biofiltration for sustainable abatement of VOCs. 01/11/2023 - 31/10/2025

Abstract

The indoor environment contains up to five times higher concentrations of air pollutants than outdoors. People spend > 90% of their time indoors, where a group of pollutants "volatile organic compounds" (VOCs) is of concern since even low concentrations are detrimental to our health. Their traditional treatment involves techniques that demand high energy consumption, generate by-products, and do not degrade VOCs. Hence, a shift to more sustainable technologies is required. Biofiltration allows the biodegradation of VOCs by employing microorganisms. Our project merges biofiltration with phytoremediation, translating it into a botanical biofilter (BB). A consists of a substrate and botanical compartment with bacteria that grant more degradation mechanisms, making it more robust. Nevertheless, research is limited in this field, and disparities exist regarding BB's design, operation, and efficiency. Furthermore, clear relationships between a BB and an indoor environment are absent, limiting the spread of the technology. Our study will overcome the discrepancies by combining experiments, modeling, and coworking with the indoor air and green wall sectors. (i) BB systems will be acclimated and bioaugmented; (ii) their VOC removal capacity will be evaluated; and (iii) a comprehensive multiphysics model will be developed to optimize the technology. Finally, (iv) BB will be tested in indoor settings to create a knowledge platform to position BB in the indoor air purification sector.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Cathodic protection of reinforced concrete structures - A bridge too Far? 01/09/2022 - 31/08/2024

Abstract

Within this PWO project, DUBiT, in collaboration with Sanacon and EMIB+DUeL (University of Antwerp) is developing a hands-on practical guidance and training on the use, design and installation of a cathodic protection system for the lifetime extension of existing concrete structures. The need for sustainable repair techniques, long-term vision and adequate spending of the renovation budget is essential. Within this project, existing expertise will be strengthened through consultation with the field, qualitative market research inventory of existing cases and experimental research on a laboratory scale. An actual KB protection system on the campus in Aalst will serve as a demo set-up forming part of a unique KB course offered by Odisee in Belgium.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Combined electrostatic precipitation-photocatalysis technology for simultaneous abatement of indoor particulate matter, VOCs and NOx pollution: a study based on experimental analysis and multiphysics modelling. 01/11/2021 - 31/10/2025

Abstract

According to the most recent report of the European Environment Agency on air quality, air pollution represents the most serious environmental risk to human health. To address these problems, the emission of air pollutants must be prevented and avoidance of exposure must be attained in the short term. Since Europeans spend over 90% of their time indoors, indoor air quality management is an efficient strategy. The current proposal focuses on electrostatic precipitation (ESP) and photocatalysis. Despite their extensive use and the growing body of research, both technologies currently have a common constraint: they are only effective against one type of pollutant, i.e. particulate matter or gaseous pollutants. Therefore, this project explores the integration of these technologies by coating the ESP's collector plates with a photocatalyst, to tackle a broad range of pollutants in one operation. There is currently no complete understanding of the mutual effects of ESP and photocatalysis, which hinders the development of a combined technology. In this project several multiphysics submodels are developed to examine the occurring phenomena. In addition, a simplified set-up is investigated experimentally. By combining submodels for all phenomena and correlating them with experiments, all mutual, potentially synergistic, effects of ESP and photocatalysis are studied. Afterwards, the combined technology is optimised and a prototype device is developed and validated.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Combined air purifying technology Reactor-Filter 01/11/2021 - 29/02/2024

Abstract

This project focuses on the development of an innovative indoor air purifying system that combines two technologies: activated carbon filtration and photocatalytic oxidation. In previous research projects, a photocatalytic multi-tube reactor and an activated carbon filter module have been developed. These air purification techniques on their own have some major disadvantages. However, when the techniques are combined into one integrated system their individual disadvantages can be overcome. A modelling approach is designated to determine the conditions in which the two technologies are optimally combined. A positive project outcome will result in the development of an air purification system that removes a broad range of air pollutants from the indoor air. The system will have major advantages, as the indoor air pollutants are fully converted into CO2 and H2O, without forming by-products. As a result, indoor air can be recirculated, and ventilation can be minimized. This way, energy efficiency will be ensured as ventilation requires energy for heating outdoor air to indoor temperature. In addition, the air pollutants produced indoors will not be emitted outdoors by ventilation, which is beneficial for the environment. VENTO and the University of Antwerp (DuEL research group and Faculty of Design Sciences) will collaborate in order to achieve the project goals.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Photoelectrochemical cell optimization for environmental remediation and hydrogen production from waste gas using sunlight. 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2025

Abstract

The production of alternative fuels, and protection of our living environment are two of the most intensively studied topics. Efficient generation of fossil-free fuels at low cost requires the development of new materials and implementation of novel methodologies. On the other hand, cleaning of hazardous substances from waste gasses and air requires ecofriendly technologies. In this project we will tackle both issues simultaneously, by developing fully functional photoelectrochemical systems that degrade organic pollutants in waste gas on one side of the device (photo anode), while producing hydrogen gas on the other side (cathode). Where the oxygen evolution reaction is often the bottleneck in standard photoelectrochemical water splitting, here this issue is circumvented by using organic pollutants as electron donors, that are more easily oxidized than water. The driving force behind the entire process is direct sunlight. Therefore, firstly more solar-responsive photo anode materials will be prepared. After rigorous characterization and screening of the photo-activity, these catalysts are integrated in a fully functional photoelectrochemical test setup, that will enable to deduce all relevant intrinsic kinetic and mass transfer parameters. The latter are used as the input of a multiphysics computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model that will enable to improve the overall process operation and the photoelectrochemical cell design in a convenient way and at low cost. Eventually, based on the outcome of the CFD study a laboratory scale demonstration unit will be constructed to showcase the application potential of this multi-purpose sunlight-driven technology.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Combined technologies for simultaneous abatement of air pollutants. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2024

Abstract

Several air cleaning technologies exist, each of them typically efficient against one type of pollutant. Consequently, it is interesting to combine different techniques in one system to remove a broad range of pollutants in one operation. In this way, we intend to solve the problems associated with the individual techniques. To address the challenges and investigate how combined technologies can be optimally integrated into one system, a multiphysics model will be developed for the combined technology, including submodels for all relevant phenomena. In addition, a test facility is being built in which both technologies can be thoroughly tested. Based on correlation of the model results and experiments, a thorough parameter analysis is performed to gain a full understanding into the interaction between both technologies.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Operational CFD Model for impact analysis on spatial interventions to improve urban ventilation. 01/09/2022 - 31/08/2023

Abstract

Within the contemporary debate on liveability in cities, the topic of natural ventilation as mitigating measure is gaining more and more interest. Especially in the field of air quality, natural ventilation has gained a lot of interest as an additional measure to local emission reduction strategies (e.g. transition to electric vehicle fleet and introduction of (ultra) low emission zones) to comply with the stricter air quality guidelines (European standards and World Health Organization (WHO) Air Quality Guidelines (AQGs)). The public awareness and the actions of citizens' initiatives are putting additional pressure on spatial planners and urban policy makers to tackle the problems of air quality and heat. It is generally known that street canyons (streets flanked by facades on both sides) are, due to their morphology, the bottleneck zones for natural ventilation and thus are greatly challenged by increased pollution levels and problems related to urban heat. However, spatial planners and urban policy makers have few useful and reliable tools and knowledge to analyze these street canyons and to develop solutions. This demand from the market was discussed during meetings with Cabinet Advisers (City of Antwerp), spatial policy makers (city of Antwerp, Climate and Environment department), the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM) and design firms (Maat-Ontwerpers, OMGEVING).This project proposal fully addresses this gap in the market by providing validated tools (CFD simulations) for analysis of existing situations and impact-analysis of spatial interventions to support the implementation of spatial measures for the optimization of ventilation in urban environments and to offer this as a product-service to companies and governments. Hereby the recently developed knowledge on this matter (unique within the Flemish field of knowledge) within the multidisciplinary collaboration between the research group Sustainable Energy, Air and Water technology (DuEL) (Faculty of Sciences, UA) and the research group for Urban Development (Faculty of Design Sciences , UA) is used. In addition to this knowledge, a tool was developed (CFD model) for carrying out detailed analyzes of urban areas (focus on street canyons) and calculating spatial interventions that focus on the optimization of local natural ventilation and/or pollutant dispersion. The CFD model differs from current standard models since it has been thoroughly validated (by means of an extensive measurement campaign) and has the possibility to calculate the impact of adjustments to building configurations (in contrast to the usual models for Flemish governments such as AtmoStreet, IMPACT and CAR that only can calculate the impact of adjustments to emissions/traffic flows). For this project proposal, an IOF-POC Develop is requested to further develop the CFD model in co-creation with the City of Antwerp and/or VMM and thus make it ready for market-introduction on a technical level. Furthermore, commercial steps are being taken (further market and competition screening, detailed valuation of the service and analysis of real costs, such as personnel, but also technical matters such as measurement equipment and computing power) to substantiate the development of the Service Platform (substantiation of follow-up application IOF Service Platform in 2023) with potential to grow into a spin-off company. Finally, a number of alternative valorisation routes were identified, such as registration for European framework programs (Interreg, Life, Horizone Europe), cooperation agreements with public companies for large-scale projects (e.g. Lantis) and cooperation agreements regarding the setting up of the screening tool by the Flemish Environment Agency (VMM).

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project website

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Combined ESP/photocatalysis for air purification in underground parking garages: a study based on experimental analysis and CFD modelling. 01/11/2020 - 31/10/2021

Abstract

Despite the fact that Europe and Flanders have succeeded in reducing the emission of pollutants into the air, WHO air quality guidelines are not yet within reach. Underground parking garages in particular can promote elevated concentrations of traffic-related pollutants such as PM and NOx, as they accumulate in the building. Especially, ventilated parking garages are hot spots as the pollutants are transferred to the outside environment with a large impact on local ambient air quality. To address this problem, polluted air should be treated before leaving the building. In this project an innovative air purification technology is being considered that combines ESP with photocatalysis to tackle PM and NOx simultaneously. An experimental study will assess the performance of this combined technology under parking garage conditions in terms of PM and NOx removal and degradation. In order to verify the effect of number and location of air purification units on the air quality at the ventilation outlet of parking garages, two existing parking garages are selected as case study. For both, a CFD model for air flow and pollutant dispersion will be developed in which the air purification technology will be virtually implemented. In this way several configurations can be tested. In addition, indoor air quality will be addressed in these models by virtually controlling the available thrust fans in the parking garages.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

Wonderwalls. 01/10/2020 - 30/09/2022

Abstract

Context: In our increasingly dense urban environment, there is a growing need for green spaces. As there is little space left to integrate this vegetation in a traditional way, alternative solutions are needed. Where green roofs are increasingly used today, vertical building surfaces remain largely unused. However, the available vertical façade area in cities is large. Both ground-bound green façades and living wall systems have enormous market potential. In addition to the economic opportunities they offer, they go hand in hand with a positive ecological, social and urban planning impact. They offer a cost and space-efficient way to increase the liveability and climate resilience of cities, they filter pollution and CO2 from the air, they increase biodiversity and they have a positive impact on people's productivity. Goals: The latent potential of green façades is almost ready to be monetized in terms of positive economic, ecological, social and urban planning impacts. To this end, knowledge that is concentrated in research institutes and in the manufacturing industry needs to be prepared for dissemination to the field and translated into practical tools and guidelines. In order to achieve a breakthrough in vertical façade greening and stimulate new innovations, this TETRA project will therefore focus on: (1) Developing an objective assessment framework to evaluate the performance of green façades. This will include environmental, economic and building physics elements. The systems will be assessed on the basis of their performance during their entire life cycle. (2) The elaboration of practical and reliable decision tools to help the various actors within the construction sector (e.g. architects, contractors, building owners, authorities) in the judicious prescription and application of green façades. Attention will be paid to the various elements that can influence the final choice, including the installation and maintenance of the various systems (e.g. whether or not they are ground-bound). (3) Targeted product innovations and testing in demo applications, such as evaluating and optimizing the efficiency of growth limiters. (4) Disseminating the knowledge to the various target groups by means of demos, workshops, ... Particular attention will be paid to the flow of knowledge and experience to education (e.g. students of architecture and industrial engineering, as well as practical training in construction and landscaping). Output: - www.gevelgroen.be - Buildwise Innovation paper "Begroende Gevels" (November 2022) - Wetenschappelijk Eindrapport WonderWalls (November 2022) Scientific Publications: A1: Is the sustainability potential of vertical greening systems deeply rooted? Establishing uniform outlines for environmental impact assessment of VGS Rowe, Timothy; Poppe, Jan; Buyle, Matthias; Belmans, Bert; Audenaert, Amaryllis Renewable and sustainable energy reviews - ISSN 1364-0321 - 162(2022), p.1-12 A1 (Under review) A review on the Leaf Area Index (LAI) in vertical greening systems. De Bock, A., Belmans, B., Vanlanduit S., Blom J., Alvarado-Alvarado A. Audenaert, A. Building and Environment, 34 p. Modeling the hygrothermal benefits of green walls using COMSOL Multiphysics ® Alvarado-Alvarado A., De Bock, A. , Belmans, B., Denys S. Sustainable Cities and Societies (SCS) P1 Conference proceedings with peer review: What's under the canopy of current LCA studies on vertical greening systems? – a SWOT analysis Timothy Rowe, Anouk De Bock, Matthias Buyle, Bert Belmans and Amaryllis Audenaert Proceedings of the 2022 International Conference on Green Building Stockholm, Sweden, 6 p. SWOT Analysis of an LWS as a replacement for the outer cavity leaf. M. Adriaenssen, W. Meeusen, T. Rowe, B. Belmans, A. Audenaert Proceedings 2022 International Conference on Green Energy and Environmental Technology (GEET-22) July 2022, Rome, Italy, ISSN: 2695-804X, 6 p.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

    Project website

    Project type(s)

    • Research Project

    Photocatalytic Asphalt Pavements for the Port of Antwerp (PAPPoA): a feasibility study (Port of the future). 01/03/2020 - 30/12/2021

    Abstract

    Asphalt pavements need to be able to withstand the effects of weather (i.e. UV, rain, and freeze-thaw cycles) and (heavy) traffic loading during their service life, while maintaining the necessary mechanical performance, e.g. limited rutting, fatigue resistance and water resistance, and providing comfortable and safe driving conditions in terms of the surface properties, taking into account mostly skid resistance and texture. Recently, not only investigations related to the mechanical performance or overall environmental impact of asphalt pavements are conducted, but more attention is given towards smart pavements, e.g. photocatalytic pavements. In most cases, TiO2 nanoparticles (semiconductor material) are used in the field of photocatalysis for many purposes, mostly for air and water-pollutant photocatalytic degradation, as it is effective, non-toxic, easily available and cheap. Due to the huge surface area of road pavements and its vicinity to the exhaust gases from automobiles, the photocatalytic capability is quoted as promising for air-cleaning. TiO2 is able to react under UV-light (only 3-5% of the sunlight spectrum) with pollutant gases, such as NOx and SO2, creating water-soluble nitrates and sulfates respectively, which are easily removed from the asphalt pavement by rain. It also has the potential to degrade soot, (spilled) oil and volatile organic compounds (VOC). In this project, we want i) to further investigate further the effects of traffic on the photocatalytic efficiency, ii) to determine possible effects on traffic safety (skid resistance) and iii) to develop an in-situ test setup to measure the NOx reduction.

    Researcher(s)

    Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      An advanced facility for assessing the impact of particulate matter (PM) mitigation strategies and technologies. 01/01/2020 - 31/12/2021

      Abstract

      This application relates to the purchase of new infrastructure for setting up an advanced facility for assessing the impact of particulate matter (PM) mitigation strategies and technologies, one of the core domains of the applicants. To this end, accurate generation and quantification of PM is crucial. The research group Sustainable Energy, Air & Water Technology therefore requests two setups to cover all size fractions of PM that are associated with urban air pollution, namely ultrafine PM (<0.1 μm), fine (<2.5 μm) and coarse PM (> 10 μm). With the requested equipment, we can load air with a controlled PM concentration and size distribution, which can be guided to a wind tunnel setup to investigate PM deposition on vegetation or to air purifiers to test the physical removal or chemical transformation of PM. The concentration and distribution of PM is selected such that they mimic PM pollution outdoors and indoors.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Improved CFD modelling of pollutant dispersion in urban environments for the assessment of air purification strategies. 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2023

      Abstract

      Air pollution is a serious problem. Flemish governmental policies have been put into action to lower pollutant concentrations. Planned measures are e.g. lowering traffic emissions and innovative building configurations to enhance natural ventilation in urban environments. Since these measures are obviously very costly and the health cost of air pollution is enormous (estimated as € 8 billion per year in Belgium), assessing the effectiveness of the planned measures will result in an efficient allocation of our society's financial resources to lower these substantial health costs. Mathematical modelling with computational fluid dynamics (CFD), allows quantifying urban pollutant concentrations and the effect of the proposed abatement strategies. However, concerns about the accuracy and computational cost of urban pollutant dispersion CFD models exist. To solve these problems, the following will be investigated: Combining different faster but less accurate Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) models into 1 model could increase the overall RANS performance. This strategy will be combined with the more accurate but slower large Eddy simulation (LES) models in a hybrid RANS/LES model, to speed up LES. In addition, a recently developed uncertainty quantification method will be applied to identify as yet unknown relevant sources of uncertainty. Lastly, the developed methods and knowledge will be incorporated in a model of a real quarter in a Flemish city (Antwerp).

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Semi-active photocatalysis technology for abatement of urban air pollution. 01/10/2019 - 30/04/2022

      Abstract

      The goal of this project is to develop semi-active photocatalytic systems for mitigating air pollution in urban environments. With semi-active systems is meant photocatalytic systems with (i) improved functionality (enhanced activity under solar light conditions), (ii) in which the transfer of pollutants to the photocatalytic surfaces is increased (by inducing natural or forced convection) and (iii) where the sunlight is optimally utilized by optimizing the received light intensity. The hypothesis is that systems that meet these conditions are superior to so-called passive photocatalytic systems. In this project, a promising plasmon-enhanced photocatalytic material, developed by our research group, will be characterized in terms of its sensitivity to sunlight. The relevant reaction kinetic parameters will hereby be determined and will be used for designing semi-active air purification systems based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models, thus limiting the need for extensive experiments. The most promising system will then be built on scale model and will be extensively tested under controlled conditions. Finally, a demonstration model will be built in a realistic environment. The ultimate goal of the IOF-POC project is to demonstrate the feasibility of semi-active photocatalytic systems and thus to awaken the interest of potential industrial partners and other stakeholders.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Pilot project air treatment car parks Zuiderdokken 01/10/2019 - 30/09/2020

      Abstract

      The research group Sustainable Energy, Air and Water Technology (DuEL) of UAntwerpen will carry out research for MPA in the context of a pilot project of MPA in collaboration with QPark and MPA, whereby the Steendok and Kooldok car parks will be equipped with air purification installations with the best available air purification technology. The research group provides guidance in defining the objectives, the choice of the best available technology, the measurement, monitoring, follow-up, analysis and evaluation of the results in the short and long term.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Improved CFD modelling of pollutant dispersion in urban environments for the assessment of air purification strategies. 01/06/2019 - 30/09/2019

      Abstract

      Air pollution is a serious problem. Flemish governmental policies have been put into action to lower pollutant concentrations. Planned measures are e.g. lowering traffic emissions and innovative building configurations to enhance natural ventilation in urban environments. Since these measures are obviously very costly and the health cost of air pollution is enormous (estimated as € 8 billion per year in Belgium), assessing the effectiveness of the planned measures will result in an efficient allocation of our society's financial resources to lower these substantial health costs. Mathematical modelling with computational fluid dynamics (CFD), allows quantifying urban pollutant concentrations and the effect of the proposed abatement strategies. However, concerns about the accuracy and computational cost of urban pollutant dispersion CFD models exist. To solve these problems, the following will be investigated: Combining different faster but less accurate Reynolds-averaged Navier Stokes (RANS) models into 1 model could increase the overall RANS performance. This strategy will be combined with the more accurate but slower large Eddy simulation (LES) models in a hybrid RANS/LES model, to speed up LES. In addition, a recently developed uncertainty quantification method will be applied to identify as yet unknown relevant sources of uncertainty. Lastly, the developed methods and knowledge will be incorporated in a model of a real quarter in a Flemish city (Antwerp).

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Modelling and experimental validation of deposition on vegetation to facilitate urban particulate matter mitigation. 01/01/2019 - 31/12/2022

      Abstract

      The adverse health effects resulting from exposure to air pollution, such as particulate matter (PM), are becoming more and more prominent. Although emissions are reducing, too high PM concentrations are still expected at locations with high traffic volumes and in so-called street canyons. Urban green has been considered as a potential urban planning solution for improving air quality, especially green walls have a great potential. Vegetation has an influence on air flow patterns and aids in the removal of particulate pollutants from the atmosphere by dry deposition on the leaf surfaces. Both field, wind tunnel and modelling studies (especially CFD) have been complementary used to investigate these effects, however, current deposition models are not able to grasp all mechanisms responsible for deposition and resuspension. This research proposal will address this shortcoming by developing a size-resolved deposition model considering all relevant mechanisms as well as resuspension on plant leaves. The relevant aerodynamic parameters and deposition/resuspension rate of different plant leaf orientations of green wall species will be determined with wind tunnel experiments. These results will serve as input of a model framework at real scale. The model framework will be applied to explore the potential of nature-based systems and eco-technological solutions for urban PM mitigation. This research proposal is very innovative and challenging since it transcends the state of the art.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Clean air for children and other vulnerable groups. 01/01/2018 - 31/12/2020

      Abstract

      The objective of this project is the study and development of innovative air purification technology based on plasma catalysis. The mitigation of outside air pollution in order to reduce indoor air pollution for vulnerable groups is aimed for. Several subobjectives are targeted: - Cooperation in research and development between the university and industrial partners on plasma catalysis as a sustainable air pollution technology. - Demonstration and analysis of the impact of this technology in real life environment. Impact assessment and sustainability assessment of plasma catalysis. - Active involvement of demand and offer sides by market oriented cooperation. This co-creation project with public and private partners in a market oriented innovation approach should reduce the impact of air pollution on health of the most vulnerable people in society,. This intensive, interregional cooperation between knowledge centres, private enterprises and public actors results in a demand oriented innovation cluster which at its turn results in more efficient use of resources and decreased impact of air pollution on the health of vulnerable groups in the neighbouring regions Flanders-The Netherlands.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project website

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      PM removal by urban green: a scientific modelling framework. 01/10/2017 - 31/12/2018

      Abstract

      In this project a scientific framework for assessing the particulate matter (PM) removal of urban green is developed. We aim at enhancing the insight in the several phenomena that occur at the level of plant surfaces in the presence of PM polluted air, and in the way meteorological, physiological and morphological (plant) parameters affect PM transport, deposition and resuspension. The methodology is based on (1) predictive computational models for air flow, PM transport and PM deposition / resuspension on plant surfaces and (2) experimental analysis of the aerodynamics of urban green and PM deposition on their surfaces. By combining the sophisticated modularity in modeling techniques with experimental procedures, insight will be gained into the relevant underlying dynamic processes involved (PM transport, deposition and resuspension) and the effects of meteorological and physiological / morphological parameters. Based on the framework, we will explore and test the potential of 'eco-technological solutions' for the mitigation of urban air pollution, in particular of PM pollution. Conventional "passive" application of urban green does not fully use its deposition potential. In this project, innovative ways of using urban green in the smart planning of urban adaptation are suggested and studied. Additional benefits might be found in such engineered green systems for both the building and green industry and the environment, but a great deal of knowledge is still lacking to optimally develop and implement them. The knowledge build up in this research project will be very useful in the global framework of designing healthy, sustainable cities. Furthermore, the results will be very helpful to develop and tailor innovative eco-technological solutions, based on a solid scientific background, which adheres to all requirements and regulations.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Analysis of photocatalytic removal of acetaldehyde by air purifying paints and coatings 01/11/2016 - 31/12/2017

      Abstract

      In this project, measurements are performed by the research group DuEL, in which the photocatalytic removal of acetaldehyde is determined for air purifying paints. The measurements are performed according to the international standard ISO22197-2. The produre includes a pretreatment, an adsorption phase in dark conditions and the measurement of acetaldehyde removal under UV light.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Outdoor air quality monitoring in Morocco and purification processes. 13/03/2016 - 31/12/2017

      Abstract

      This study consists of the development of an early warning and monitoring system for air pollution in Morocco based on remote sensing techniques and modelling. Additionally, we will study the possibilities of photocatalysis and plasma catalysis to abate the pollutants by using our combined modelling and remote sensing expertise. Apart from the actual research activities (described in detail below), there is also an important training part. This will be done, amongst others, by Master students of Morocco who will come to Belgium as exchange students. Students from Master in Science (4 per year) will work under their Master's degree final project on several defined tasks, and will be supervised by the investigators. Short visits for training at the University of Antwerp, Dept. Bioscience Engineering will be planned. Two workshops for faculty members, researchers and stakehold-ers will also be scheduled and research papers will be published. The supervised Master's students will serve as the foundation of building a lasting tradition of joint supervision where the advisor will be from Morocco and the co-advisor can be from the University of Antwerp. The principal investigators will exchange visits in the context of this project and supervising the degree of the students. This project will allow both teams and Master students to work on a challenging project that attract high national and international interest.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Green Building - Green walls for sustainable buildings and cities 01/09/2015 - 31/08/2019

      Abstract

      in this project the direct effects of green walls on local air quality and hydrothermal effects of green walls are studied. The global aim is to gain better insight in the interactions plant - (urban) environment, and finaly to optimize existing systems towards air purifying effects.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project

      Design and optimization of a photocatalytic reactor for sustainable air purification in ventilation systems 01/07/2015 - 30/06/2019

      Abstract

      The general objective of this project is the design and development of a photocatalytic reactor for HVAC systems for the removal of VOC's. Hereby a significant improvement of the energy consumption as compared to conventional systems is aimed at.

      Researcher(s)

      Research team(s)

      Project type(s)

      • Research Project