ESR 15 - Environmental mobility of REE from phosphogypsum waste: field work and reactive transport modelling

ESR 15 - Marcin Plachciak

The Early Stage Researcher for this research topic is Marcin Płachciak:

I hold a Bachelor’s degree from Wrocław University of Science and Technology in Power Engineering and I am a graduate from InnoEnergy European Master’s in Nuclear Energy in Fuel Cycle major.

During my studies due to variety of attractive courses I have become interested in geochemistry and geosciences. I think the behavior and environmental effects of Rare Earth Elements haven’t been studied and researched sufficiently. I personally believe that gaining knowledge about these elements is crucial, since they have and will have many technological applications.

I decided to join PANORAMA program, because I want to develop myself in the direction of geosciences, especially the Rare Earth Elements characterization and their impact, since it is very innovative field and it constitutes one of the essential problems in today’s world.

This Early Stage Researcher will be hosted in Amphos 21 and supervised by Fidel Grandia and Carlos Ruiz.

The focus of this research topic will be put on the determination of transport and reactivity of REE leached from a phosphogypsum waste piles (main waste remaining after the manufacturing of fertilisers) to the underlying vadose zone and its impact to river system. Field data interpretation will be supported by thermodynamic calculations including speciation and reaction with soils and aquifer host rocks. An additional goal is to quantify the contribution of REE release from phosphogypsum into the Huelva estuary by collecting river samples.

Three secondments are planned:

  •  Universidad de Huelva (three months and two visits): field work including sampling of solid, water surrounding the phosphogypsum piles and river samples;
  • SCK.CEN (two months): REE database review to determine the state-of-the-art of the REE data in existing thermodynamic databases review;
  • Université Rennes1 (twice, one month): REE concentration and speciation analysis. 

The ESR will be enrolled in Doctoral degree in Universidad Huelva.