Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014NJ358B

Development of zirconium oxide biocomposite for drinking water defluoridation

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: Megha Thakkar, Somenath Mitra

Abstract: Fluoride is a common constituent of ground water and is classified as a contaminant by International Ground Water Resources. Fluoride concentration below 1 ppm prevents dental cavities whereas higher concentration causes dental and skeletal fluorosis [1]. Many parts of the world, as well as many communities in New Jersey have high fluoride concentration in drinking water and defluoridation is an important technology. The objective of this project is to develop a biocomposite for drinking water defluoridation. We propose to use algae as a host to immobilize nano and micro zirconium oxides on its surface. To provide high chemical and mechanical strength, the immobilized algal biomass will be coated with porous polysulfone. Zirconium oxides are known to be effective defluoridation agents and the Zr coated biocomposite will be synthesized for fluoride removal. The biocomposite will be characterized based on surface area, porosity and zirconium loading. This research will lead to the development of a green sorbent for defluoridation, and also serve as a platform for the removal of other pollutants.