Catalytic and Atmospheric Reactivity for the Environment (CARE)

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FEDER covid-air Project

The CARE team is positioned at the intersection of many major social issues related to water resources, waste recovery, air quality, and climate change. Its research is based on the association of strong expertise and efficient analytical parc in order to characterize, eliminate and promote pollutants. By being at the interface between environmental sciences, heterogeneous catalysis, analytical chemistry, and electrochemistry, the CARE team develops innovative remediation methods (photocatalysis, electrochemical promotion of catalysis, …), process coupling (catalysis-photocatalysis, catalysis-electrochemistry, etc.), chemical analysis (high-resolution mass spectrometry) and studies in order to characterize atmospheric processes.

Research areas

Atmospheric Processes

Air pollution remains a major problem in urban and suburban areas impacting health and Earth Climate. This is due to the large emissions of gaseous and particulate compounds. However once in the atmosphere, their physico- (photo) chemical changes remain extremely uncharted, limiting our capabilities to improve air quality. As a result, understanding how aerosol form and evolve within the atmosphere is the main research targets of the team. More particularly, the understanding of the physicochemical and photochemical processes involved in the growth of the finest particles is one of the major research themes. In addition, the health impact of these ultrafine particles is also studied through collaborations involving different actors (biologists, doctors, etc.) to characterize in an unprecedented way the impact of particles on different cellular and pulmonary systems. Such a complementary approach is not only logical but also strategic since the World Health Organization regularly highlights the extent of the global health problem related to particle exposure. In order to fully tackle these experimental challenges, new analytical developments are being conducted. They rely on developing new couplings between soft ionization techniques and high-resolution mass spectroscopy.

Catalytic degradation of pollutants

The formulation of catalytic pollution control materials must constantly evolve to comply with ever more strict rules in terms of emission level (ambient air, homes, workplaces, environment) and operating time, but also to anticipate the predicted decline in global resources of some active elements such as noble metals. The CARE team has strong and specific skills to tackle these challenges including lowering the operating temperatures of catalysts and limiting or even eliminating the use of noble metals.

Hence, the team is studying new materials and processes for the treatment of pollutants in air and water, with the aim of improving the efficiency and the durability of the catalysts. To reach this objective the Team is improving the accessibility of the active sites (i.e., core-shell morphology, redox exsolution of nanoparticles, dynamic properties of the metal/support interfaces) and kinetics (i.e., assisted catalysis, process coupling). With regard to automotive emission control, one of the main research areas concerns targeted pollutants with the gradual decline in the dieselization rate in Europe associated with the development of new engines and new fuels. In this context, the Team is focusing on proposing solutions to reduce/vanish emissions of ultrafine particles, methane and nitrogen compounds such as nitrous oxide and ammonia but also on increasing the efficiency of low-temperature post-treatment system, especially for the cold start of the engine.

Organic waste recovery

The team also focuses on the recovery of organic pollutants using photocatalytic and electrocatalytic processes. The production of high-valuable chemicals and/or energy carriers (H2) from sustainable sources such as highly polluted industrial effluents and organic wastes remains a major challenge for the replacement of oil products. Indeed, resources must be limited to fight against Climate change (i.e., production of greenhouse gases). Thus, the use of photocatalytic processes is an important research axis allowing the transformation of organic pollutants. In collaboration with CDFA, the team is developing new concepts for hydrothermal transformation of cellulosic substrates assisted by photocatalysis. This photocatalytic approach also involves the development of new photocatalysts having optimized properties, e.g., controlled nanomorphology or the formation of inorganic-organic hybrid composites. The recovery of pollutants and organic waste is also characterized by electrocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic processes. One of the main objectives is to develop the electrolysis of organic waste (lignin, plastic) for the production of pure hydrogen.

Research projects

European Fundings:
EUROCHAMP (2017-2020): Integration of European Simulation Chambers for Investigating Atmospheric Processes – Towards 2020 and beyond,

MARSU (2015-2020): MARine atmospheric Science Unravelled: Analytical and mass spectrometric techniques development and application,

ERC-Starting Grant (2020-2025): A Missing Key Property in Atmospheric AeRosol ChEmistry: the Laplace Pressure (MAARvEL)

French National Research Agency Fundings:
CHARO: Hierarchical CHAbazite core-shell catalysts for Reduction of NOx and N2O – CHARO,

CORAL (2017-2021): New Oxygen Storage Components for Oxidation and Reduction in Automotive Catalysts,

DYCAT (2020-2023): Dynamic Catalysts

EPOX (2016-2020): Electrochemical promotion of Epoxidation,

PHOTHER (2018-2022): Transformation hydrothermale de substrats cellulosiques assistée par photocatalyse

PHOTOSOA (2017-2020): Photosensitization : A novel pathway to SOA generation and property change in tropospheric particles.

SEA-M (2017-2020): Impact of Air-Sea Exchanges on Air Quality in Coastal Megacities,

ADEME Fundings:
RAVISA (2018-2020): Impact on the reactivity of agricultural soils on the oxidizing capacity and secondary organic aerosol formation

FUI Fundings:
QAICAR (2016-2020): Qualité de l’Air Intérieur dans l’habitacle automobile : traitement des odeurs et dess micro-organismes,

CNRS Fundings:
LEFE – INSU (2019-2021): Vers une nouvelle caractérisation de la formation d’aérosol organique dans l’atmosphère (NECTAR)

PEPS ENERGIE : Lignin-H, Lignin electrolysis as a sustainable technology for H2 production
région Rhône-Alpes Auvergne Fundings:
Coopération Sino-Européenne dans le domaine de la chimie atmosphérique / qualité de l’air / changement climatique. Ecole thématique SESAC4 (2019)

IDEX LYON Fundings:
WANTED (2018-2021): Which Atmospheric Nanoparticles trigger hEatlh Diseases?

IPPON (2018-2021): Incoherent Light and Phonon Management in Micro-Nanopatterned Materials for Efficient Depollution and Artificial Photosynthesis

IMPULSION (2019-2020): How does the Laplace pressure impact chemistry occurring within atmospheric aerosols?

EN-CAS (2020-2022): Emergent Nanoparticles for CAtalysiS

Experimental and instrumental capabilities

National and International Collaborations:

Industrial Collaborations


  • Researchers

    • Gilles Berhault
    • Angel Caravaca
    • Stephane Dumas
    • Corinne Emmelin
    • Christian George
    • Sonia Gil
    • Anne Giroir-Fendler
    • Chantal Guillard
    • Valerie Meille
    • Matthieu Riva
    • Philippe Vernoux
    • Essyllt Louarn
  • Technical and administrative staff

    • Antoinette Boreave
    • Nicolas Charbonnel
    • Frederic Dappozze
    • Sebastien Perrier
    • Laurence Retailleau-Mevel
    • Candice Cart
    • Sonia Gil
    • Pierrick Peixoto
  • Postdoctoral fellows

    • Jesus Gonzalez Cobos
    • Carmen Kalalian
    • Jiejing Kong
    • Estelle Le Sache
    • Kangwei Li
    • Elizabeth Vera
    • Weidong Zhang
  • PhD students

    • Insaf Abdouli
    • Guangtao Chai
    • Clement Dubois
    • Hamza El Marouazi
    • Simon Fahed
    • Melissa Galloni
    • Nicolas Grimaldos-Osorio
    • Dandan Li
    • Nouha Mediouni
    • Feng Pan
    • Guillermo Jesus Pedrosa Castro
    • Ziba Roostaei
    • Felix Sari Dore
    • Brenda Roberta Silveira De Araujo
    • Rulan Verma
    • Xinke Wang
    • Jie Yu
  • Interns

    • Faidra Kozonaki


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