Description and Objectives

A challenging area of anaerobic digestion (AD) research remains largely unchartered with respect to understanding the role of trace metals (TMs) in enabling biogas production. This major knowledge gap and scientific challenge is a multifaceted problem involving metal chemistry, physical interactions of metal and solids, microbiology and technology optimisation. Moreover, the fate of TMs, and the chemical speciation and transport of TMs, in environments – often agricultural lands – receiving discharge waters from AD is completely unknown. The Action aims to grow a critical mass of stakeholders interested in understanding trace metal bioavailability and microbial interactions in anaerobic environments and soils. Five Working Groups (i.e. Chemical speciation and bioavailability; Microbiology; Engineering; Fate of TMs in the environment; and Modelling) are defined, where cooperation between, and integration of, the Working Groups are emphasized. The COST Action allows the establishment of a strong European network, including Early-Stage Researchers. The problem has major environmental, economic and social significance, and the network will disseminate findings to the scientific community, water industry, policy makers and the rest of society.

Objectives

Scientific objectives:

*Chemical speciation and bioavailability of TM in both anaerobic technologies and in the environment
*Dynamics of the microbial populations as a response to changing concentrations of different TM
*The impact of TM on the range and concentrations of useful microbial products
*Assessment of the impact of technological aspects on the fate of TM in anaerobic bioreactors
*Fate of TM in environment
*Modelling of anaerobic digestion systems

Networking objectives:

*Creating interdisciplinary discussion platform where researchers will meet professionals from the industry
*Setting-up a training network for young researchers
*Promote the role of young researchers in the networking activities, especially during the Short-Term Scientific Missions and visits between partners
*Acting as precursor of successful projects in Horizon 2020
*Give clear guidance on sustainable TM management in both technological applications and in the environment (deliverables: book + Decision Support System) useful for different stakeholders