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Publications

by Keyword: Air pollution

Sans, J, Arnau, M, Sanz, V, Turon, P, Aleman, C, (2022). Fine-tuning of polarized hydroxyapatite for the catalytic conversion of dinitrogen to ammonium under mild conditions Chemical Engineering Journal 446, 137440

Polarized hydroxyapatite (p-HAp), a calcium phosphate catalyst obtained at high temperature under intense electric field, has been used for the synthesis of ammonium starting from N2 and liquid water at low pressure (<6 bar) and temperatures below 120 C. The success of the nitrogen fixation process has been demonstrated by isotope labelling experiments using 15N2. Considering the optimal reaction conditions for the production of ammonium, the yield is as high as 154.6 +/- 25.8 mu mol/g of catalyst. The proposed synthesis exhibits three important advantages for its utilization in green chemistry environmental processes related to the recycling of polluted air. These are: i) the catalysts converts CO2 into valuable chemical products in addition of transforming N2 in ammonium; ii) the final energy balance is very favorable since no external electrical field is necessary to promote nitrogen and carbon fixation reactions; and iii) products are easily transferred to water favoring their extraction and avoiding the saturation of the catalyst.

JTD Keywords: Adsorbed nitrogen, Air pollution, Amino-acids, Electrophotosynthesis, Environmental process, Facile synthesis, Fixation, Functionalization, Hydroxyapatite, Nitride, Nitrogen reduction, Polarized catalyst


Burgués J, Esclapez MD, Domate S, Pastor L, Marco S, (2021). Aerial mapping of odorous gases in a wastewater treatment plant using a small drone Remote Sensing 13,

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are sources of greenhouse gases, hazardous air pollutants and offensive odors. These emissions can have negative repercussions in and around the plant, degrading the quality of life of surrounding neighborhoods, damaging the environment, and reducing employee’s overall job satisfaction. Current monitoring methodologies based on fixed gas detectors and sporadic olfactometric measurements (human panels) do not allow for an accurate spatial representation of such emissions. In this paper we use a small drone equipped with an array of electrochemical and metal oxide (MOX) sensors for mapping odorous gases in a mid-sized WWTP. An innovative sampling system based on two (10 m long) flexible tubes hanging from the drone allowed near-source sampling from a safe distance with negligible influence from the downwash of the drone’s propellers. The proposed platform is very convenient for monitoring hard-toreach emission sources, such as the plant’s deodorization chimney, which turned out to be responsible for the strongest odor emissions. The geo-localized measurements visualized in the form of a two-dimensional (2D) gas concentration map revealed the main emission hotspots where abatement solutions were needed. A principal component analysis (PCA) of the multivariate sensor signals suggests that the proposed system can also be used to trace which emission source is responsible for a certain measurement.

JTD Keywords: air pollution, environmental monitoring, gas sensors, industrial emissions, mapping, odour, uav, Air pollution, Drone, Environmental monitoring, Gas sensors, Industrial emissions, Mapping, Odour, Sensors, Uav


Pinheiro, ND, Freire, RT, Conrado, JAM, Batista, AD, Petruci, JFD, (2021). Paper-based optoelectronic nose for identification of indoor air pollution caused by 3D printing thermoplastic filaments Analytica Chimica Acta 1143, 1-8

Commercial printers based on fused deposition modeling (FDM) are widely adopted for 3D printing applications. This method consists of the heating of polymeric filaments over the melting point followed by their deposition onto a solid base to create the desirable 3D structure. Prior investigation using chromatographic techniques has shown that chemical compounds (e.g. VOCs), which can be harmful to users, are emitted during the printing process, producing adverse effects to human health and contributing to indoor air pollution. In this study, we present a simple, inexpensive and disposable paperbased optoelectronic nose (i.e. colorimetric sensor array) to identify the gaseous emission fingerprint of five different types of thermoplastic filaments (ABS, TPU, PETG, TRITAN and PLA) in the indoor environment. The optoelectronic nose is comprised of selected 15 dyes with different chemical properties deposited onto a microfluidic paper-based device with spots of 5 mm in diameter each. Digital images were obtained from an ordinary flatbed scanner, and the RGB information collected before and after air exposure was extracted by using an automated routine designed in MATLAB, in which the color changes provide a unique fingerprint for each filament in 5 min of printing. Reproducibility was obtained in the range of 2.5-10% (RSD). Hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) were successfully employed, showing suitable discrimination of all studied filaments and the non-polluted air. Besides, air spiked with vapors of the most representative VOCs were analyzed by the optoelectronic nose and visually compared to each filament. The described study shows the potential of the paper-based optoelectronic nose to monitor possible hazard emissions from 3D printers. (C) 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

JTD Keywords: 3d printing, colorimetric sensor array, indoor air pollution, optoelectronic nose, paper-based, 3d printing, Colorimetric sensor array, Emissions, Indoor air pollution, Optoelectronic nose, Paper-based, Thermoplastic filaments


Oliveira, V. R., Uriarte, J. J., Falcones, B., Jorba, I., Zin, W. A., Farré, R., Navajas, D., Almendros, I., (2019). Biomechanical response of lung epithelial cells to iron oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles Frontiers in Physiology 10, 1047

Increasing evidence shows that lungs can be damaged by inhalation of nanoparticles (NPs) at environmental and occupational settings. Recent findings have associated the exposure to iron oxide (Fe2O3) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) – NPs widely used in biomedical and clinical research – with pulmonary oxidative stress and inflammation. Although changes on cellular mechanics could contribute to pulmonary inflammation, there is no information regarding the effects of Fe2O3 and TiO2 on alveolar epithelial cell biomechanics. The aim was to investigate the NPs-induced biomechanical effects in terms of cell stiffness and traction forces exerted by human alveolar epithelial cells. Cell Young’s modulus (E) measured by atomic force microscopy in alveolar epithelial cells significantly decreased after exposure to Fe2O3 and TiO2 (-28 and -25%, respectively) compared to control conditions. Moreover, both NPs induced a similar reduction in the traction forces exerted by the alveolar epithelial cells in comparison to the control conditions. Accordingly, immunofluorescence images revealed a reduction of actomyosin stress fibers in response to the exposure to NPs. However, no inflammatory response was detected. In conclusion, an acute exposure of epithelial pulmonary cells to Fe2O3 and TiO2 NPs, which was mild since it was non-cytotoxic and did not induce inflammation, modified cell biomechanical properties which could be translated into damage of the epithelial barrier integrity, suggesting that mild environmental inhalation of Fe2O3 and TiO2 NPs could not be innocuous.

JTD Keywords: Actomyosin fibers, Air pollution, Cell biomechanics, Lung epithelium, Nanoparticles


Palleja, T., Balsa, R., Tresanchez, M., Moreno, J., Teixido, M., Font, D., Marco, S., Pomareda, V., Palacin, J., (2014). Corridor gas-leak localization using a mobile Robot with a photo ionization detector sensor Sensor Letters , 12, (6-7), 974-977

The use of an autonomous mobile robot to locate gas-leaks and air quality monitoring in indoor environments are promising tasks that will avoid risky human operations. However, these are challenging tasks due to the chaotic gas profile propagation originated by uncontrolled air flows. This paper proposes the localization of an acetone gas-leak in a 44 m-length indoor corridor with a mobile robot equipped with a PID sensor. This paper assesses the influence of the mobile robot velocity and the relative height of the PID sensor in the profile of the measurements. The results show weak influence of the robot velocity and strong influence of the relative height of the PID sensor. An estimate of the gas-leak location is also performed by computing the center of mass of the highest gas concentrations.

JTD Keywords: Gas source detection, LIDAR sensor, Mobile robot, PID sensor, SLAM, Acetone, Air quality, Gases, Indoor air pollution, Mobile robots, Robots, Air quality monitoring, Autonomous Mobile Robot, Gas sources, Indoor environment, Leak localization, LIDAR sensors, Profile propagation, SLAM, Ionization of gases