Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012NJ308B

nHFO-Microalgae and Immobilization for Water Quality Improvement

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $30,000

Principal Investigators: Liping Wei

Abstract: Groundwater arsenic contamination affects more than 30% of community water systems (CWSs) in the Piedmont and Outer Coastal Plain regions and 5 – 10% of CWSs in other areas of New Jersey. This project aims to develop a novel low carbon footprint and high capacity sorbent for arsenic removal by integrating nanosized hydrous ferric oxide (nHFO), microalgae and porous immobilization. Hypotheses are: (1) nanosize hydrous ferric oxide (nHFO) can be stably loaded on microalgae for immobilization into porous granular sorbent, and (2) the nHFO-microalgae and the final granular sorbent will have high arsenic adsorption capacity. The sorbent material will be synthesized by first loading microalgae cells with FeIII which forms nHFO upon pH adjustment and mild thermal treatment, then immobilizing the nHFO-microalgae into porous granules using synthetic polymer. The product (the intermediate nHFO-microaglae and the final granular sorbent) will be examined for surface area, porosity and the nanosized existence of HFO, and most importantly, for arsenic sorption equilibrium, kinetics and thermodynamics. The novelty of this research lies in the utilization of microalgae (negative carbon footprint) as a host material for nHFO, and the use of a non-traditional nHFO loading approach. We expect the sorbent to have greater arsenic sorption capacity than the established sorption materials.