Superfund Research Program
Advanced Toxic Metal Contaminant Remediation System
Project Leader: Patrick I. James
Grant Number: R43ES013622
Funding Period: Phase I: March 2006 – August 2006
This SBIR project addresses toxic and heavy metal exposure reduction through environmental contamination minimization via metal removal at the contamination source. Harmful metals which are not readily degraded or detoxified enter the environment in significant quantities via numerous industrial activities and frequently pose long-term environmental hazards. This program will develop a novel electrolytic technology for efficient aqueous source metal contaminant removal/recovery. The innovative cell design will achieve higher removal efficiencies at lower contaminant concentrations, dramatically reduced fluid management power costs, and higher operating current densities allowing smaller and cheaper treatment units compared to conventional technology. Additionally, several improvements to the approach will allow a much greater range of process optimization while enhancing both the cell and process robustness. The technology will work with a variety of common contaminants and mixtures thereof. The technology will be compact, reagentless, will require no feedstream pretreatment, and will recover the contaminant as a compact, pure, and potentially saleable product. Cell performance, stability, and design optimization will be explored with selected model contaminants. The results obtained will be used to develop treatment cost estimates, to design a prototype pilot-scale automated treatment system for subsequent field trial evaluation, and to perform feasibility analysis against various contamination source scenarios. Target applications include treatment of: acid mine drainage, heavy metal and radionuclide contaminated sites, and metal contaminated industrial dragout/wash effluents and general discharges in operations such as electrowinning, metal manufacturing, plating, pickling, and circuit board manufacture operations being notable examples.