Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018NJ396B

Developing a new, compact, and modular design for revolutionizing urban water reuse

Institute: New Jersey
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $20,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $41,741

Principal Investigators: Yong Yan, Yang Deng

Abstract: Biologically treated municipal wastewater and stormwater represent the primary point and non-point pollution sources in the U.S. urban areas, respectively. Various pollutants from the two sources, including pathogens, nutrients, toxic metals, and emerging micropollutants, may enter urban environment and threat ecological and human health. On the other hand, fresh water is limited in many arid, water-stressed, or highly urbanized areas, including New Jersey. In this project, we aim to develop an innovative multiple-valence iron-based electrochemical reactor (MIER) powered by nanomaterial to effectively address various contaminants in secondary effluent and runoff for urban water reuse. Our hypothesis is that a nanostructural titanium dioxide (TiO2) surface architectured anode can effectively and economically generate Fe(VI) from Fe(III) at a neutral condition, enabling a new water reclamation design. Two specific objectives include: 1) to synthesize a catalytic active electrode for effective Fe(III) to Fe(VI) conversion; 2) to test the new electrode material for treatment of different polluted urban waters. Here we provide a new vision for water reuse, increasing urban water supply and alleviating urban environment pollution, equivalent to the proverbial “killing two birds with the same stone.” The lead PI, a junior faculty, will translate a new discovery in electrochemical chemistry into water application, to develop his career in advancing green chemistry for environmental applications. Meanwhile, education and outreach activities are well planned to impact college and pre-college students in water science and technology. Data acquired will become part of three graduate students’ theses and serve as preliminary results for a large follow-on proposal.