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Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences
Research and teaching centre
environmental geosciences

Innovations for the Environment

Our linear economic model, combined with mass consumption and exponential population growth, is creating a dynamic that is putting great pressure on our resources and territories. Our objective is to find global solutions that preserve resources and satisfy needs and uses.


Eco-design of nanomaterials during their life cycle

This research is carried out in the continuity of the actions undertaken via the SERENADE Labex and concerns both materials included in everyday consumer products and those forming part of processes. For consumer products, we can cite the example of TiO2 for which we are seeking in turn to exploit the photocatalytic and UV absorption properties, thus involving very contrasting situations in terms of formulation, durability, etc., while reducing the exposure and toxicity of nanomaterials.

In connection with the processes, the reactivity of geo-inspired nanophases (e.g. imogolite, Feroxanes®) to design adsorbents and membranes. In addition to the safety and efficiency aspects, the costs of these materials and their recyclability are of particular interest. The objective is to develop a set of new materials with a high selectivity for emerging pollutants.


Reuse / recycling of resources

The team is interested in the reuse and recycling of resources by adopting an interdisciplinary approach (Process Engineering, Physical Chemistry, Chemistry, Microbiology). This concerns the recycling of critical metals in waste via bio-inspired processes (mimicking accumulation processes in certain plants or bacteria) with low environmental impact.

These processes are based on a detailed study of the speciation of critical metals and on a better understanding of the transfer mechanisms of these metals to living organisms. In connection with the major problem of water scarcity, the team is developing treatment processes adapted to new usage cycles, including 'Water Reuse' schemes by adapting the treatment for emerging pollutants.

This work is carried out in collaboration with industrialists, economists and sociologists for the implementation of global water reuse solutions on demonstration sites.


Soil quality, use and management in urban and peri-urban areas

In the face of ever-increasing land pressure, land use planning (e.g. The quality of the soil (e.g. agricultural, forestry, urban) is a major issue for public policies. Our work has shown that it is possible and accepted by local actors to integrate information on soil quality into a PLU in the form of a multi-purpose use index.

This index, the results of which are spatialised and can be integrated into a GIS, is a novel result that is currently being tested in other areas. This index is also being tested in the 16ème Marseille district in which an effort is being made to assess the quality of soil in intra-urban areas.

A national perspective will be provided.


C storage in soils (4/1000) 

Increasing soil C stocks by 4/1000 per year for global food security and climate is the goal of the 4/1000 programme.

The team is co-founder of the Carbo-SMS network, bringing together researchers and socio-economic actors, in order to stimulate research in the field, communicate on the theme and attract R&D initiatives.

With our expertise and metrological know-how on the dynamics of organic C in soils, we will contribute to public decision-making (collective expertise 4/1000), and stimulate and support innovative initiatives aimed at increasing soil C stocks by slowing down the rate of mineralisation or by intervening on the nature of the C supplied. This is a specific approach acting via the amount of C supplied to the soil.

Ongoing projects

  • 2022-2025 : European project LEAP-RE RESTART. REcycling of spent Li-ion batteries and end-life photovoltaic panels: From the development of metal recovery processes to the implementation of a START-up.
  • 2022-2025 : Aix-Marseille-Provence Metropolis Project (MAMP). Organic carbon and land use in the MAMP territory.
  • 2021-2026 : NSF Accelnet INFRAMES project. Network of Networks to Advance International Efforts for Sustainable Materials.
  • 2021-2025 : ANR project RECALLSustainable RECovery of vALuable metaLs in bauxite residue.
  • 2021-2024 : EVALVIE, ADEME project - IECP carrier.
    Assessment of the environmental and health vulnerability of a territory in relation to human activity and the diversity of environments.
  • 2021-2023 : ITEM POLEMIL Institute project. Field School. Environmental pollution. 
  • 2020-2025 : IRD AMIR International Joint Laboratory. Responsible Mining in Morocco: Issues, Challenges, Solutions.
  • 2020-2024: H2020 project SABYNASimple, robust and cost-effective approaches to guide industry in the development of safer nanomaterials and nano-enabled products.
  • 2020-2023 : National Carnot Water and Environment Programme NEREIDE . Nature-based Solutions for Wastewater Treatment and Reuse for Sustainable Irrigation.
  • 2020-2023 : ITEM Institute Project RhizoCarbone+. Stimulating the plant-microorganism-mineral continuum to store carbon in soils. 
  • 2020-2023 : ITEM Institute Project BioextractBIOmimicry at the service of the EXTRACTION of Rare Earths from secondary sources.