Vanadium In Shallow Groundwaters: A Potentially Dangerous Pollutant?
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About The Author

My research interests include trace metal speciation and particularly Rare Earth Elements (REE), a better understanding of trace metal cycles in natural waters, and an improved knowledge of trace metals transport from rivers to ocean. The determination of inorganic and organic constituents and their impact on water quality requires an in-depth knowledge of the interactive water chemistry relationships. Chemical form and speciation play a significant role on the geochemical, toxicological, transport to the ocean and overall environmental impact on water quality. The development of analytical geochemistry technology to the solution of specific environmental problem requires extensive laboratory and field research and development effort. In this way, aqueous geochemical models have become popular tools for the interpretation of natural water geochemistry. Unfortunately, these models still show deficiencies, the major one being incorrect or inconsistent thermodynamic data. Objectives of my project are to develop, test, evaluate and make field applications of such geochemical models for equilibrium speciation of Rare Earth Elements from river to seawater.

                       

Vanadium In Shallow Groundwaters: A Potentially Dangerous Pollutant?

Image courtesy Olivier Pourret Among the critical elements (Figure 1), vanadium (V) has been proposed to be a potentially dangerous pollutant, especially in the critical zone. The United States Environmental Protection Agency categorizes V in the priority list of environmental risk elements. Fixing the environmental concern of V can be controlled through an incomplete understanding of V biogeochemistry relative to other transition metals. A better understanding of V biogeochemical behavior may support environmental risk assessment and...

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The Mobility Of Copper And Cobalt In Metalliferous Ecosystems 

As I explained in my previous article on the environmental impact of the increasing demand for cobalt (Co), mineral resources have been exploited in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for thousands of years. Such exploitation results in abandoned metalliferous mine wastes with high concentrations of metals. It also results in the contamination of surrounding ecosystems. To avoid further contamination and health issues, phytostabilization research has been conducted in natural ecosystems of some copper (Cu) hills to evaluate Cu and Co mobility...

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What Is The Answer To The Universe, Life, And Everything Else?

“The Answer to the Great Question... Of Life, the Universe and Everything... Is... Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm… “I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer.” — Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy A question that you may ask yourself, and you may have already had the answer in an algorithmic course at university! Isn’t it Loic & Julien? "What is the answer to the universe, life, and everything...

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When Rock Meets Life

It all started in 2005 during a trip to the United States, where I went to a famous conference in geochemistry (Goldschmidt Conference, Moscow, Idaho). The following weeks I crossed the Rocky Mountains and visited many national parks, including Yellowstone Park. Of the many geological, geothermal, and volcanic curiosities in Yellowstone National Park, and outside of the wildlife (including some incredible photographs of bison), I have been fascinated by hot springs and associated thermophile organisms, such as this photograph of...

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From Coal, A New Source Of Rare Earth Elements — But Also A New Identified Risk To The Population! 

Rare earth elements (REE) have become a highly valuable commodity due to their increased use in emerging technological applications. The future exploitation of areas with high REE content will play a strategic geopolitical role around the world, as shown in a previous article. The progressing activity in opening new mining areas will contribute to increased REE mobility and will influence the fate of these elements in the environment over the next decades. In order to monitor the respective contribution of...

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Does Acid Mine Drainage From Coal Mining Contaminate Fertile Soils And Crops?

In several countries like China or Vietnam, open-pit coal mining is one of the major causes of pollution (freshwater, soil, or air). Indeed, overburden and acid mine drainage from coal mining contaminate soils and produce pollution and, thus, unproductive wastelands. Open-pit coal mining involves ore excavation, which releases large quantities of spoil. Subsequent pollution with the characteristic leaching of trace metal elements (e.g., Cd, Cu, Pb or Zn), which are potentially toxic, occurs and is of major concern for populations...

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Will Increasing Demand For Cobalt Impact The Environment?

Consumption of many raw materials has steadily increased since World War II, and demand is expected to continue to grow in response to the burgeoning global population and economic growth, especially in emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China. We are also using a greater variety of metals than ever before. Solar panels are an important tech that utilizes cobalt. (Credit: Bureau of Land Management / Flickr) New technologies, such as those required for modern communication and...

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New Rare Earth Elements Found In Amazon Estuary?

Nowadays, the industry is more and more demanding of many metals. Among these many metals are rare earth elements, and some of these elements (e.g., neodymium, Nd) are used in particular to produce powerful permanent magnets that are used in wind turbines, electric motors, etc. (Figure 1). Others, such as europium, are used as luminophores. These rare earth elements are, thus, part of the materials considered to be strategic for the economy. But what exactly are they? The rare earth...

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How To Gain Insight Into Biochar Sorbing Behavior Using Rare Earth Elements 

Biochar is a carbon-rich product that comes from biomass pyrolysis. Biochar has sparked a wide interest due to its great potential for (i) improving soil fertility, (ii) enhancing carbon sequestration, and (iii) favoring soil remediation. The application of biochar mainly implies surface functional groups, especially for the immobilization of toxic metals (not heavy metals; see box below). For example, as reviewed by Pourret and Houben (2018), biochar may bind aluminum (Al), predominantly due to complexation of Al with the hydroxyl...

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