Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014NJ352B

Developing nano-activated carbon based technology for groundwater remediation

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $10,000

Principal Investigators: Chengyu Chen, Weilin Huang

Abstract: We propose to use nano size activated carbon (NAC) to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including chlorinated solvents from contaminated groundwater. New Jersey has the most superfund sites in the US, many of which have VOCs (e.g., trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE)) as major pollutants in their groundwater systems. Conventional technologies such as pump and treat are not cost effective and more recent developments based on nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) and nano carbon tube (CNT) materials have limited success due to poor transport properties of these reactive materials. Our preliminary studies showed that we can fabricate NAC materials with particle sizes smaller than 100 nm, that these NAC materials have stronger sorption capacities for chlorinated organic compounds compared to powder activated carbon (PAC) and CNT, and that these particles can remain suspended over extended time period indicating their superior transport properties in aquifer. We propose to conduct systematic tests for characterizing the physicochemical properties of the NACs, quantifying their sorption capacities for TCE and other VOCs, and measuring their transport properties (dispersivity or settleability) in sandy column systems. The ultimate goal of the study is to develop an innovative technology for in situ remediation of groundwater systems contaminated with VOCs.