The research focuses on the development, evaluation and optimization of technologies for the treatment and reuse of wastewater.

Energy optimization, minimizing environmental impact (ex. in the production of greenhouse gases) , determination of degradation mechanisms (ex. micro- contaminants), scaling and transfer of technology applied to membrane bioreactors (MBR), constructed wetlands and biological nutrient removal processes among other technologies. The interdisciplinary approach and collaboration with other lines and areas of research and modeling, control, analytical chemistry, microbiology and ecology are essential characteristics of our research .

The specific objectives are:

·Advanced technologies for the removal and recovery of nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur

· Dynamics (physical, chemical and microbiological) sewer systems

·Biological treatment based on membrane technologies for wastewater reuse

· Methods for defining technological features to improve the efficiency of processes


Jelena Radjenovic
Research Professor

Jelena graduated in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology in 2004 at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy, Belgrade University, Serbia. She obtained her PhD in Environmental Chemistry in 2009, University of Barcelona, under the supervision of Prof Damia Barcelo and Prof Mira Petrovic. From 2009 to 2014, she was a research fellow at the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC), The University of Queensland, Australia. In late 2014, Jelena moved to the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA) with a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship. She obtained a Ramon and Cajal fellowship in 2015, and an ERC Starting Grant project ELECTRON4WATER in 2016. Jelena is an ICREA Research Professor since January, 2018.

Jelena´s research aims at developing innovative, hybrid treatment techniques that outperform current (waste)water processing methods and drive down the requirements for energy and chemicals. Her research is focused on the development of nanoelectrochemical systems for distributed water/wastewater treatment, based on the use of engineered nanostructured materials to induce oxidative and reductive degradation of pollutants in water. Her research group is also exploring the possibilities of nanoengineering of anaerobic respiration and acceleration of redox microbial reactions by the addition of low-cost carbon nanomaterials. The main objective in the development of these technologies is to design tailored, adaptable solutions for the treatment of contaminated water and eliminate persistent, toxic and carcinogenic chemicals from water in an energy-efficient way.


Maite Pijuan
Research Scientist

Dr. Maite Pijuan: Maite received her PhD in Environmental Engineering at the University Autonoma de Barcelona in 2004 on the topic of biological phosphorus removal from wastewater. Following her PhD, Maite moved to the Advanced Water Management Centre at The University of Queensland (Australia) to work with Prof. Zhiguo Yuan on the field of biological nutrient removal from high strength and domestic wastewater. During these years she has focused on the development and optimization of new wastewater treatment technologies (i.e. aerobic granulation) and on understanding the competitive interactions among bacteria in mixed microbial systems. She has more than 25 peer reviewed publications, is the principal investigator in one patent and has supervised 4 PhD students (2 of them already completed). In July 2010, Maite joined ICRA as a Ramon y Cajal research fellow. Her current research interests focus on the study of greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment processes.

Gianluigi Buttiglieri
Research Scientist 

Contract co-financed by the Spanish State Research Agency of the Ministry of Science and Innovation within the framework of the Ramón y Cajal Program (RYC-2014-16754).

Dr. Gianluigi Buttiglieri: His research interest and expertise is on environmental process engineering (wastewater, greywater treatment and water reuse) by means of conventional and enriched activated sludge systems, MBRs (fouling and decision support systems) and wetlands with special focus on micropollutants presence, removal and biodegradation mechanisms. 

MSc in Environmental Engineering (2004) and PhD in Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (2008) from Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Since 2010, as postdoctoral fellow at ICRA, he established the multidisciplinary research line on micropollutants (pharmaceutical, endocrine and UV filters compounds) monitoring in the environment and removal by means of different treatment technologies. Currently, he is the scientific manager of the European project demEAUmed and since January 2016 he is research scientist (Ramón y Cajal) at ICRA. 

His research activity have resulted in 21 publications (20 ISI listed peer-reviewed journal; H-index of 10; 298 citations; 2 book chapters) and over 40 national and international conference proceedings. He has consolidated experience in mentoring with the finalized supervision of 1 PhD thesis (2 more PhD on-going), 14 MSc, 12 BSc final projects and 10 trainee activities.

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Elisabeth Cuervo
Postdoctoral Researcher Advanced

MSCA postdoctoral fellowship 2023, for the study of functionalized low-cost graphene sponge electrodes for sustainable water treatment and complete defluorination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – FOCUS4PFAS.
will strengthen the research on chemical-free water treatment technology for complete defluorination of PFAS, including the very polar homologues, and their removal from the contaminated water. FOCUS4PFAS will provide new opportunities for decentralized (waste)water treatment, reuse, and source control of contaminated waste streams.

Jing Ma
Postdoctoral Researcher

Nick Duinslaeger
Research Tech. Adv.

Natalia Ormeño
Predoctoral Researcher

Anna Segués
Predoctoral Researcher

Josephine Vosse

Predoctoral Researcher
Contract financed by the Secretariat of Universities and Research of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Social Fund within the framework of the FI Program (2022 FI_B 00084).

Oriol Casabella
Research Technician

Contract financed by the Secretariat of Universities and Research of the Generalitat de Catalunya and the European Social Fund within the framework of the FI Program (2022 FI_B1 00122).

Lide Jaurrieta
Research Tech. Adv.

Anastasya Kravtchenko
Research Tech. Adv.

David Primo
Research Technician



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