RUSEKU

RUSEKU

Representative Investigation Strategies for an Integrative System Approach to Specific Emissions of Plastics into the Environment
Description

This project aims to develop representative investigation methods and strategies for an integrative system understanding of relevant plastic entry paths into the environmental compartment water. The sampling methods to be developed are evaluated in terms of their concentration concept, their local use, their sampling throughput, and their selectivity for particles of different properties, sizes, and shapes. For this purpose, defined microplastic particles will be produced with these varying characteristics and tested for representative recovery of sampling procedures in the laboratory and in semi-industrial simulation facilities. The methods developed in this way will be translated into specific investigation strategies, adapted and then applied to real environmental areas for different transport paths in the urban wastewater system. The adaptation is carried out with the aid of supporting simulation methods. In addition to the academic understanding of microplastic entry points, causes and pathways, market-ready methods for efficient microplastic sampling are developed in cooperation with the companies involved. These methods form a basis for evaluation by legislators and for standardisation.

Main areas of work

  • Development of efficient, integrative and representative research methods and strategies (accuracy, repeatability, transferability) for the determination of relevant microplastic contents over the different areas of the water cycle
  • Establishment of goal-oriented, analytical methods for the detection of microplastic particles according to practical aspects
  • Simulations of the dynamics of particles in water bodies in semi-industrial laboratory tests
  • Further development of sampling to quantify the microplastic volume and transport in the real, urban waste water system for the waste water fractions: precipitation water, domestic waste water, and industrial waste water
  • Generation of a simulation code for the dynamics of microplastic particles in waters

WP 1 Production of microplastics and microplastic suspensions

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Gehde, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Institute for Materials Handling and Plastics, Reichenhainer Straße 70, 09126 Chemnitz, e-mail: michael.gehde@mb.tu-chemnitz.de

Project partner
BAM, TUB, PlasticsEurope

Short description
First, defined, heterogeneous microplastic mixtures are developed for the environmental testing in water and soil. After the initial use of existing materials (e.g. particles from cryogenic grinding, commercial products), plants for the realistic and defined production of microplastic particles will be set up during the project period: UV degradation systems for thin-walled, defined materials, dry or aqueous mechanical abrasion systems for fibres from textile applications, and abrasion simulation systems for the generation of spherical particles. The other project partners will contribute to the characterisation of these model materials by applying their analytical methods.

WP 2 Development of sampling methods

Contact person
Dr. Claus Gerhard Bannick, Federal Environmental Agency, Corrensplatz 1, 14195 Berlin, e-mail: claus-gerhard.bannick@uba.de

Project partner
UGT, CSP, SMB, TUK, GEA, GKD, SVEI

Short description
In WP 2, efficient, reliable and reproducible sampling methods and strategies are developed for the microplastic model particles of different varieties, densities, sizes and shapes in the stream simulation facility at UBA. Their usability and reproducibility will also be investigated for routine operation and the methods will be evaluated based on the recovery rates of experiments. The individual project partners are optimising their analytical procedures: from the use of conventional flow-through centrifuges to the cascade filtration system, suspended matter traps, hydrodynamic modelling, and lysimeter tests to the control of possible input into groundwater.

WP 3 Simulations

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Manhart, Technical University of Munich, Associate Professorship of Hydromechanics, Arcisstraße 21, 80333 München, e-mail: m.manhart@bv.tum.de

Project partner
KMT

Short description
The methodological developments from WP 2 are supported by accompanying simulations in WP 3. These simulations result in a description of the vertical distributions of spheroids at different particle sizes and shapes in a turbulent surface water or stream simulation facility. The models and results are integrated into a software that simulates geometrically complex, application-oriented cases. A sampling strategy is derived from the simulation results. Relevant material parameters of the particles such as size distribution, real density or surface properties from WP 1 as well as from partners from WP 5 are included.

WP 4 Sampling of real environmental compartment

Contact person
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Heidrun Steinmetz, Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Institute of Water - Infrastructure - Resources, Paul-Ehrlich-Straße 14, 67663 Kaiserslautern, e-mail: heidrun.steinmetz@bauing.uni-kl.de

Project partner
UBA, TUM, KMT

Short description
The main focus of WP 4 is the quantification of the microplastic volume and transport in the real, urban wastewater system for the wastewater and precipitation water, domestic wastewater (partial flows grey and black water), industrial wastewater, and mixed wastewater. The findings from the sampling in WP 2 will be implemented and improved. Further work will focus on sample preparation and preservation to evaluate the comparability of different sampling strategies. The investigations focus on the quantities and the importance of microplastic volumes in the individual entry points of the urban wastewater system into the water bodies.

WP 5 Analytics

Contact person
Dr. Ulrike Braun, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Division 5.3 Mechanics of Polymers, Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, e-mail: ulrike.braun@bam.de

Project partner
CSP, TUM, FHI

Short description
The analytics used in the individual work packages are based on the requirements for sample preparation and analytical procedures as well as on the necessary information to be generated, not on the general feasibility. WP 5 serves the intensive exchange of results generated with complementary analytical methods. In addition, the respective methods, supported by the results of the other project partners, will be further refined and adapted.

Case studies

As a real environmental simulation, individual components of the wastewater system of the city of Kaiserslautern are investigated. In concrete terms, precipitation water is sampled here on settlement and traffic areas as well as domestic and industrial wastewater.

In addition, air sampling will also be carried out at the limits of comparable sampling sites. Locations in Berlin and in the Halle/Leipzig area are planned. The planned lysimeter tests will be carried out in Berlin and thus allow an assessment of groundwater recharge in Berlin and Brandenburg.

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