Water Contaminant Adsorption and Degradation


The increasing use and reuse of our limited water resources necessarily means that water contaminants will continue to be identified and will continue to accumulate in our water sources. While technologies exist to address water contaminants, we will continue to need improvements and advancements in treatment technology to better address a wide variety of water contaminants, from organic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products, to heavy metals, pesticides/herbicides, and other toxic compounds. One opportunity that we see is to develop catalyst materials that can cost-effectively address a range of water contaminants and that can be integrated into current water treatment processes as a reactive degradation step. Iron-based nanoparticles have been extensively investigated at the laboratory bench-scale as a potential materials for reactive water treatment applications, and contaminant studies have thoroughly demonstrated that iron nanoparticles can remove contaminants through a combination of adsorption and reactive degradation. Yet iron nanoparticles remain limited to bench-scale demonstrations and some short-term in situ groundwater treatment studies. Iron nanoparticles are limited in their application due to three primary challenges: uncontrolled reactivity (and resulting short lifetime), oxidation and precipitation as iron oxides (with a loss in reactivity), and uncontrolled agglomeration and transport/immobilization in specific systems. Thus, there are critical and important engineering challenges that must be solved to enable iron-based reactive nanoparticles to eventually be used as a wide-spread water treatment technology. Further, opportunities exist to creatively design iron-based nanoparticles for specific contaminant and technology implementation scenarios.


Funded Projects:


SBIR Phase I & II with startup partner AxNano, LLC

Project: Bimetallic Zero Valent Iron-Carbon Composites for In Situ Remediation


With collaborator Prof. Wen Zhang

 Project: Photocatalytic Net for Algal Bloom and Toxin Removal


With collaborator Prof. Shannon Servoss

Project: Electrochemical Sensor for Biomolecules via Peptoid Engineering


Award Number:1739473

With collaborators Prof. Greg Thoma, Prof. Jennie Popp, Prof. Kris Brye, Prof. Julie Renner, and Prof. Andrew Herring

Project: INFEWS/T3: Critical Nutrient Recovery and Reuse: Nitrogen and Phosphorus Recycling from Wastewaters as Struvite Fertilizer