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Chinese National Engineering Research Center for Heavy Metal Pollution Control & Treatment (CNERC-CTHMP) was formally approved by the State Ministry of Science and Technology in 2011. It is the national technology R&D and education base for heavy metal pollution.

The Center focuses on the research of heavy metal pollution control and treatment. Our research areas include (1) heavy metal clean production and emission control, (2) treatment and utilization of heavy metal wastes, including industrial wastewater, waste gases and residues, and (3) remediation of heavy metal contaminated soil.

The Center has set up an innovative team with high levels in academics and engineering. The Center consists of 62 permanent researchers, including 58 associate and full professors. 80 % of the researchers have overseas research experiences. Among these members, five professors are academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, three professors are the awardee of National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, three professors are the awardee of Distinguished Professors for Changjiang Scholars Program, etc. Under the leadership of Professor Liyuan Chai, the Center was awarded as the Innovative Research Teams in key fields for National Innovation Talent Promotion Plan, and the Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team. The Center also hires 31 internationally renowned scholars as visiting/adjunct professors, and builds long-term cooperative relationships with other universities, such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Flinders University of South Australia, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Kyushu University, Akita University, etc.

The Center is supported by several research institutions and platforms, including State Center of Pollution Control Engineering for Environmental Protection in Non-Ferrous Metal Industry, Heavy Metal Pollution Comprehensive Treatment Engineering Technology Research Center of Hunan Province, and Hunan Key Laboratory of Water Pollution Control Technology. In addition, the Center is divided into 7 directions, including clean production and pollution reduction of heavy metals, heavy metal wastewater treatment, heavy metal solid waste treatment and reutilization, flue gas treatment, heavy metal soil remediation, biotechnological mining and metallurgy environment, analytical center. The Center has developed more than 20 sets of portable testing equipment system, including "heavy metal solid waste processing", "heavy metal wastewater biological deep processing", "heavy metal type gas pollutants purification and recycling", "heavy metal contaminated soil repair" etc. About 17 industrialization bases have been established in Zhuzhou smelter group, Science environmental protection co., LTD., etc.

The Center accomplished great achievements in scientific research projects, technology transformation, and service. The Center developed more than 30 technologies, including “deep treatment and recovery of the wastewater containing heavy metal by biological agent”, “purification and recovery of low concentration SO2 flue gas containing heavy metal”, “treatment and resource utilization of solid waste containing arsenic”, “resource utilization of acid wastewater from nonferrous smelting”, and “remediation the heavy metal contaminated soil”. Two of these technologies have been listed in the National List of Advanced Pollution Prevention and Control Demonstration Technologies, two in the Catalogue of Major Environmental Protection Technologies and Equipment Encouraged by the government, and two in the List of Top 100 Environmental Protection Technologies of the International Intelligence Platform.

The Center has made a series of important scientific and technological achievements in the field of heavy metal pollution prevention and control:

1. The Center has invented technologies for heavy metal wastewater treatment and production based on biological methods, and developed technologies for heavy metal wastewater deep purification and reuse. Such technologies greatly improve the utilization of water resources. The Center was awarded the second prize of National Technical Invention Award in 2011.

2. The Center has innovated the technologies for emission reduction at the source of clean metallurgy for arsenic-containing polymetallic materials, and the technologies for safe disposal of hazardous wastes. The Center has built the first large-scale production line of "arsenic-pollution-free smelting", leading the development of technologies for arsenic-pollution-free clean metallurgy. The Center was awarded the second prize of National Technological Progress Award in 2014.

3. The Center has invented the key technologies for resource treatment of smelting metal waste acid, which solved the problems including separating multi-metals from the acid wastewater through gas-liquid sulfurization method, selectively adsorbing and enriching the trace and scattered metals, deeply purifying and recovering the acid wastewater containing high concentration fluorine and chlorine. The Center has developed an integral process for waste acid resource treatment, and realized high efficiency separation of multi-metal in waste acid for the first time. The Center was awarded the second prize of National Technical Invention Award in 2018.

4. The Center has clarified the heavy metal detoxification mechanism of microorganism under high pollution environmental stresses, reveled the detoxification mechanism of heavy metal through chemical oxidation, reduction and synergy adsorption. The Center has established the theoretical method for functional groups coordinative design. The Center was awarded the first prize of Natural Science of Hunan Province Award in 2017.

In recent years, the Center undertook more than 200 important research projects, such as National Key Research and Development Program, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Environmental Welfare Research Projects, and Horizontal Projects, etc. The Center has obtained more than 400 invention patents, published more than 1000 papers and 29 books. In addition, the Center has completed more than 100 services projects for the Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Environmental Protection, etc.

In 2012, the Center united 33 large state-owned enterprises to form the National Innovation and Strategy Alliance of Industrial Technology for Heavy Metal Pollution Control. In 2015, the Ministry of Science and Technology approved the establishment of the Hong Kong Branch.

The Center has established well running manner, which depends on the director’s responsibility that under the leadership of the board and technical committee. The Center has innovated the mode of university-industry research collaboration. Through undertaking the national and local government's scientific research projects, and entrepreneur cooperative projects, the technical achievements were transferred to enterprises directly or after the pilot test via various routes. Demonstration projects are set up in alliance units based on government funding guidance or user’s funding. A number of technologies have been large-scale industrialized, and been widely used in the largest copper, zinc and lead smelting enterprises in China such as Jiangxi Copper Corporation, Zhuzhou Smelter Group Co., Ltd. and Henan Yuguang Gold Lead Co., Ltd. etc.

In November 4, 2013, General Secretary Xi Jinping visited the Center and gave praise to the innovative technology and achievement transformation mode. Xi was accompanied by Zhigang Wang, Secretary of CPC Leading Group, Ministry of Science and Technology, Shousheng Xu, secretary of the CPC Hunan Provincial Committee, and Jiahao Du, Governor of Hunan Province.

In the future, the Center aims to focus on the field of pollution prevention and control, including heavy metal clean production and emission control, heavy metal wastes treatment and utilization, and remediation of heavy metal contaminated soil. The Center will strengthen the development of key technologies and equipment, and accelerate the transformation of innovation achievements. Our goal is to become a world-class base in scientific and technological innovation and talent training for heavy metal pollution prevention and control.