Contamination of water is a global problem. Among the most frequently occurring contaminants in water are heavy metals such as arsenic, antimony, cadmium, mercury, chromium ions, nickel, lead and others, as well as waste products from various industrial productions. The proposed technology represents highly effective and inexpensive method of removal of such contaminants.
The developed composite sorbent is prepared by controlled carbonization of fibrous cellulose raw materials which are annually produced in billions of tons by nature (resulting in a significant reduction of production costs of the sorbent). The resulting nanoporous carbon fibers are modified with hydrated iron oxides entrapped in the pores and on the surface of the fibers. The original molecular structure of the sorbent facilitates the achievement of a synergy effect of carbon and iron oxide, and provides not only a high efficiency but also a high rate of contaminant capture. The physical structure of the composite sorbent reduces the resistance to water flow, and its efficiency in removing contaminants is in the area of practical applicability independent from water pH.
Main physical properties of nanoporous carbon fibers are:
• Length: 20 microns to several cm
• Diameter: 10 to 50 microns
• BET (Brunauer, Emmett and Teller) surface area: several m2/g to almost 2000 m2/g
The proposed sorbent can be used in the treatment of water for drinking purposes, as well as in the treatment of wastewater from chemical and electronic industry. An extensive use of the composite sorbent is assumed in areas struggling with the contamination of drinking water, such as several countries in Asia. These are often areas where the input material poses a waste and by that an important ecological load on the environment.
The developed composite sorbent is significantly more effective than the top commercially available sorbent, often several times. In laboratory tests residual concentrations of heavy metals were achieved that comply with limits for drinking water.
The research institute is looking for an industrial partner for licensing the technology or to engage in contract research. The preferred cooperation types are license agreement and research cooperation agreement.