The Contamination by Metal Group (CMG) is a consolidated research group, created in 1991, which, from the beginning, has had, as priority lines of research, the reduction of pollution problems caused by the presence of toxic metallic elements. Historically, the work of the group has focused on the identification, possible reduction, transformation and control of toxic metals in the combustion of coal. For this purpose, different within-the-process fuel purification and gas cleaning procedures were developed, adapting them to the evolution of the different combustion technologies. The capture approach was focused, on the one hand, on the use and optimization of existing cleaning systems for other pollutants and, on the other, towards the development of specific methods for metals. Traditionally, the group was especially focused on the problem posed by mercury contamination. For this reason, a large part of research has been addressed towards the development of solid adsorbents for the capture of mercury and its compounds. As a result, our own solutions for metal emissions, particularly mercury, can be applied in different industrial processes.
In addition, the evaluation and recovery of soils contaminated by different industrial activities is an objective of the research under development, through the application of remediation methods using carbon materials developed in the group.
In recent years, without abandoning the aforementioned objectives, a very important part of the research has focused on the development of carbon foams with different characteristics. The versatility of such materials, in terms of precursors and preparation methods, allows the attainment of products with very different characteristics that can be used in very diverse applications: construction materials, catalysts, adsorbents of chemical and biological pollutants for air, water and soils, electrodes. Although, in the beginning, these foams have been prepared from coal, at present, the group develops foams from other materials (sucrose, tannins, biomass, etc.), with the intention of increasing the sustainability of the preparation process and reducing costs.