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Iron Nanoparticle-Based Remediation of Chloro-Organics

Superfund Research

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University of California-Berkeley

Project Leader: David Sedlak
Project Website

University of Kentucky

Project Leader: Dibakar Bhattacharyya
  Project Website

In the initial phase of laboratory research, team members at the University of Kentucky are preparing Fe/Pd bimetallic nanoparticles prepared using green chemistry. This work will be conducted jointly with US EPA-National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL). The team also has extended the synthesis to membrane-based support via green synthesis by contacting the membrane (with ion exchanged Pd) with a solution of iron chloride and ascorbic acid to produce Fe/Pd nanoparticles very effectively. These particles were considerably smaller (70 nm) than that reported in the literature by nonmembrane synthesis. Preliminary results with these nanoparticles (10 mg iron, 10% palladium) showed high reactivity toward TCE degradation. This is the first reported data for membrane-based complete green synthesis of NPs for effective TCE detoxification.

In parallel to these activities, University of California-Berkeley researchers have begun to study the potential for using the iron-containing nanoparticles that are produced from reductive dehalogenation reactions for oxidative treatment. In the initial phase of this research, the team is developing an experimental system to simulate reductive treatment after which they add an oxidant to initiate hydroxyl radical production. After they have established mass balances for oxidants and organic compounds in this system they will study the reactivity of nanoparticles produced by different green synthesis methods being developed at UK and USEPA.

After these initial laboratories are completed, the research team plans to explore green nanoparticle synthesis for direct on-site groundwater remediation applications. Using their polymer matrix to first capture iron ions, they were also able to synthesize and immobilize iron/iron oxide nanoparticles within the membrane domain in a controlled environment. These particles, in conjunction with hydrogen peroxide, could also be used for the oxidation of organic contaminants in Superfund sites in Paducah, KY and Portsmouth, OH.

These ARRA funds also support a new postdoctoral researcher position at University of California Berkeley. At the University of Kentucky they support a Postdoctoral research position and partially support a PhD student.

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