Clayey soils are widely used for the isolation of pollutants because of their low hydraulic conductivity to water. However, prolonged exposure to polluted liquids, can drastically
increase their hydraulic conductivity, with a consequent enormous damage for the environment and for the human health. To overcome this problem, a more suitable engineered clay has been developed at Ghent University resulting in a patent pending that recently entered the national phase in Europe and USA. This “YPER clay”technology consists of a clay which is treated with an anionic polymer, such as carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), and subsequently dehydrated to improve the irreversible adsorption of the polymer.
Contacts with more than 12 international companies, demonstrated a clear interest on the great technical potential of HYPER clay as an engineered improved clay for impermeable applications. What has emerged from interaction with interested companies during the StarTT project, is that more detailed communication and cooperation is needed to further improve the upscaling technology to achieve a sustainable and low cost industrial product.