The (Micro)Plastics Lab

MicroPlastic particles pose a threat to our nature, animals and maybe human health. Studies have identified and quantified different types of small-sized synthetic polymer particles in the marine environment.The EngTech (Micro)Plastics Lab (the MP Lab) at BTECH performs state-of-the-art source/receptor determination and characterisation of microplastics in our environment, i.e. from coastal beach sediments and WasteWater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) in Denmark. The aim is to obtain knowledge about:

  1. The microplastic concentrations in the marine environment.
  2. The impact of MP from WWTP on the environment.
  3. The chemical characteristics of the microplastic particles found.
  4. Source/receptor point identification of MP in inner Danish waters.
  5. Best-practise methodologies (field and laboratory) for MP investigation.

MP, and in particular quantitative identification of MP, is a relatively new scientific discipline; equipment development is therefore an important scientific activity in our lab. We have developed equipment for extraction of MP from beach sediment samples and water samples from WWTP. Currently, we are developing equipment for rapid and reliable in-situ sampling.

We also design field campaigns to identify both the source and receptor. Sediment samples are collected from the natural environment and relocated to the MP Lab for extraction and analysis. The scientific scope is the long-term source/receptor impact of MP from industry, residential areas, etc. on the environment.

Since the founding of the MP Lab, the analytical capability has developed rapidly from analysing our samples with optical microscopy to advanced Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) with Energy Dispersive X-ray (EDX). This new instrument will support delivery of advanced international research from our lab within the topic of MP.


For more information, please contact:

PhD fellow Rune Aardal Hansen (rah@btech.au.dk, phone +45 87152723) or Professor Allan Gross (agr@btech.au.dk, phone +45 61150219).    


Field trip to Sweden, October 2017

Selection of found MP from our field trips

Equipment developed at the MP Lab for quantitative extraction of MP from samples