Heroimage Institut Fuer Umweltchemie Des Kuestenraumes

Recent and finished projects

RETAKE „CO2- removal by alkalinity enhancement: potential, benefits and risks“ 2021-2024


Retake Visual Graphic English

Visual graphic: Position of the research consortium RETAKE within the research mission CDRmare

The research consortium RETAKE is part of the research mission of the German Marine Research Alliance (DAM) „Marine carbon sinks in decarbonisation pathways“ (CDRmare). RETAKE investigates potential, feasibility and possible side effects of marine alkalinity enhancement (AE). Increasing the ocean’s alkalinity – that is, the buffer capacity towards acids – results in sustainable storage of CO2 while at the same time counteracting ocean acidification. One way of achieving this is by artificially enhancing the natural process of silicate weathering, which naturally cools the earth’s climate down only over the course of thousands of years. Overall, AE is a method of climate engineering, which can lessen the consequences of anthropogenic climate change reliably and sustainably.

Within this project, the department of inorganic environmental chemistry aims for identifying and tracking the sources of alkalinity using element fingerprinting and non traditional stable isotopes. The goal is being able to distinguish the added alkalinity from the highly variable background of natural alkalinity in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. In addition, the release of heavy metals is investigated, since it could have negative side effects on ecosystems. In order to get an integral view of the method, weathering experiments using olivine will be conducted in the own labs, in addition to analyzing samples from RETAKE project partners’ experiments and environmental samples from North Sea and Baltic Sea.

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H2Mare 2021 - 2025


Projektträger Jülich im Auftrag des BMBF

Visual graphic (Projektträger Jülich on behalf of the BMBF)

H2Mare is one of three hydrogen flagship projects that are funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with a total of up to 740 Mio. Euros. In H2Mare, the generation of green hydrogen and downstream products with offshore wind power will be investigated within four years together with around 32 partners from science and industry. With four of its institutes, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon supports technology development for sustainable and environmentally friendly energy production.

The Institute for Coastal Environmental Chemistry contributes mainly chemical-analytical knowledge for the investigation of pollutants in marine environmental samples and thus helps to name possible emissions of the offshore platforms, such as (heavy) metals or organic pollutants, at an early stage. In the course of the project, a monitoring concept for potential emissions from the offshore production of hydrogen and power-to-x downstream products (e.g. methanol or ammonia) will be developed in order to be able to make a statement about the environmental impact of these plants.

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MetroCycleEU Projekt "Metrology for the recycling of technology critical elements to support Europe’s circular economy agenda" 2021 - 2024


MetroCycle logo

The MetroCycleEU project was established to enable the representative, SI-traceable determination of TCEs in the µg/g range in urban e-waste. For this purpose, transferable analytical methods and suitable reference materials will be established in the course of the project in order to contribute to the improvement of the recycling of TCEs in the context of the circular economy.

Hereon, in close collaboration with 14 partners from across Europe, will contribute to the development of new, fast and reliable analytical methods as well as to the design of sampling and sample preparation strategies. Subsequently, the knowledge gained can be used in the respective recycling economies to determine the cost-effectiveness of urban e-waste on the one hand, and to decide on recycling routes or develop new recycling and environmental impact assessment on the other hand.

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CARBOSTORE Projekt "Carbon Storage in German Coastal Seas – Stability, Vulnerability and Perspectives for Manageability" 2021 - 2024


Probenahme morgens auf dem Janssand

Sampling in the morning on Janssand (Photo: Anna Przibilla/Hereon)

CARBOSTORE is a joint project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the research program "MARE: N - Coastal, Marine and Polar Research for Sustainability” under the umbrella of the Research Framework Program“ Research for Sustainable Development” (FONA). The main objectives of CARBOSTORE are to investigate and assess the stability and vulnerability of different carbon reservoirs in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Based on the results, perspectives will be developed aiming at the targeted enhancement of carbon storage in the North and Baltic Seas, i.e., net negative CO2 emissions.

In work package 2, the Department of Inorganic Environmental Chemistry is responsible for sampling and measuring redox-active and toxicologically relevant metals in pore water, sediment and the overlying water column. In collaboration with the Department of Aquatic Nutrient Cycles, the aim is to determine how biotic and abiotic transformation and remineralization processes mobilize heavy metals which are present in the sediment. From this, the influence of released metals on biotic transformation processes (ammonification, nitrification, and denitrification) and the fluxes of released metals into the water column will be quantified.
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I2B Projekt BED „Big Environmental Data Handling“ 2019 - 2022


07 Sedimentprobe 800

Offshore Wind Farm (Photo: Sabine Billerbeck/Hereon)

Investigations of complex pollutant transport and transformation processes in the land-river-sea continuum are subject to complex interactions and form an important basis for the treatment of defined research topics and fields of work. The underlying, constantly growing large-scale and complex data sets, as well as time series or georeferenced data sets on nutrients and pollutants, as well as expected future isotope data require the development of new, innovative approaches for rapid data evaluation, their quality assurance and visualization.
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OffChEm & OffChEm II 2017 – 2023


aerial view of an offshore wind farm

Offshore Wind Farm (Photo: Sabine Billerbeck/Hereon)

The progressive expansion of offshore wind energy in the North Sea and Baltic Sea is accompanied by an increasing intrusion into the marine environment. More than 1,500 offshore wind turbines and at least 20 converter and transformer platforms have already been erected (as of December 2021). Each offshore installation represents an intervention in the marine environment. Material releases from these installations have hardly been investigated to date. The main issues here are the necessary measures for corrosion protection and the use of operational materials. Scientific knowledge about the quantities released and their distribution in the respective environmental compartments (water, sediment, biota) is currently scarce. A comprehensive assessment of the effects on the marine environment is therefore only possible to a limited extent based on current knowledge.
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EU EMRP Project ENV08 2011-2014: Traceable measurements of emerging pollutants


Map ENV08 Project partner (Map: Adriana Gonzalez Gago/Hereon)

The Joint Research Project (JRP) ENV08 “Traceable measurements for monitoring critical pollutants under the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) 2000/60/EC” is a multi-partner trans-national project within the targeted call “Environment” of the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP). The objective of our contribution is the provision of a metrologically validated, highly sensitive procedure of measurement for the brominated diphenyl ethers BDE on the basis of its specific Element. Further information

DAAD project: Metal exposure and associated effects in mussels


Mussels in a Marina (Photo: Heike Helmholz)

Within this bilateral funding of project-related exchange of scientists with the "Laboratory for Biological Effects of Metals" at the Institute Ruđer Bošković, Zagreb analytical methods and experiences have been exchanged. Objects of this project were the analysis of the mussel tissue contamination with heavy metals especially in marinas and harbours and associated, measureable physiological alterations in natural mussel populations. Further information