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Microvi Biotechnologies, Inc.

Superfund Research Program

A Novel Permeable Barrier for Groundwater Bioremediation

Project Leader: Fatemeh Shirazi
Grant Number: R44ES011880
Funding Period: Phase II: September 2007 - September 2009
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It has been long recognized that human diseases often have preventable environmental components. With massive increases in environmental contamination and the progressive deterioration of environmental quality, our global society is challenged to find faster, more effective measures of remediation of the natural resources to protect human health and environmental conditions.

The overall and long-term objectives of Microvi Biotech's SBIR research are to develop new approaches that can cost-effectively destroy major contaminants in water resources while protecting human life and the ecosystem. Under Phase I funding, a series of batch, continuous column, and simulated model experiments were conducted to evaluate a new BPB/MicroBeads technology for treatment of perchlorate and TCE. Successful results obtained in Phase I will allow further development and validation of this new technology under the field conditions at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB). A distinguishing feature of this new technology is the unique microencapsulation techniques coupled by engineering designs that can greatly enhance the rate and extend of contaminant biodegradation in groundwater.

The Phase II research will be done via several tasks.

  • In Task A, the researchers will evaluate the field groundwater quality and site characteristics to develop the engineering design and operational parameters as well as the sampling and monitoring programs.
  • Task B is designed to construct, install, optimize and operate a BPB/MicroBeads system to treat perchlorate and TCE in a shallow groundwater at Edwards AFB.
  • Task C is designed to assess the performance of this new technology and identify/rectify any unforeseen difficulties under the field conditions. As part of this task, the researches will assess the effectiveness of nutrient (if any) and electron donor delivery systems.
  • Task D is designed to obtain major design parameters, scale-up costs, and economic evaluation of the BPB/MicroBeads technology for a full-scale demonstration of this technology in Phase III.

The outcome of this research will be a comprehensive evaluation of this new technology and the critical design and operational criteria. A complete analysis of the scale-up issues as well as the long-term performance of this new technology will be completed. Upon the successful completion of the pilot-scale demonstration in Phase II, a full-scale treatment unit will be supported by Microvi Biotech's Phase III partner, Edwards AFB.

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