Prof. Gijs Du Laing is an expert in the environmental chemistry and technology of valuable and hazardous trace elements. This research focuses on the environmental fate of trace elements in agricultural production systems, the food chain and natural or managed ecosystems. Applied research is concerned with physicochemical techniques for remediation of contaminated water, soils and sediments, and with (selective) recovery of base metals and technology-critical raw materials, such as platinum-group elements and rare earth elements, from different types of low-grade ores and wastes. Particular focus is laid on the development of sorption-based and biobased techniques (biometallurgy).
His research in analytical chemistry focuses on developing and applying methods for sampling and analysis of trace elements, allowing to supply data needed for fundamental and applied research within the research fields of environmental chemistry and technology of trace elements. During the last years, chemical speciation analysis and operational fractionation of trace elements evolved towards a particular focus as it became evident that fluxes of trace elements between environmental compartments cannot be explained and controlled without studying the different forms of occurrence of trace elements in environmental samples. In this context, hyphenated analytical techniques for trace element speciation analyses, in particular HPLC-ICP-MS, have been established in the laboratory.
Prof. Gijs Du Laing also coordinates several international training initiatives at MSc and PhD level in the field of sustainable and innovative management of natural resources, including the EIT-labelled International Master Programme SINReM (www.sinrem.eu), which is supported by EIT Raw Materials and the Erasmus+ programme.