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Novel Lignin-Based Magnetite Nanocomposites for Removal of Phosphate from Contaminated Waters

EPA Contract Number: EPD12027
Title: Novel Lignin-Based Magnetite Nanocomposites for Removal of Phosphate from Contaminated Waters
Investigators: Bourdo, Shawn
Current Investigators: Bourdo, Shawn , Toland, Alan
Small Business: Synanomet LLC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2012 through August 31, 2012
Project Amount: $79,368
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2012)
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water and Wastewater


This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will explore the synthesis and use of novel lignin-derived carbon-magnetite nanocomposites for removal of aqueous phosphate—a run off pollutant from agricultural farms that leads to eutrophication of lakes and other water reservoirs. The intellectual property related to nanocomposite synthesis (and associated applications) is exclusively licensed to Synanomet, LLC and relies on an extremely rapid, environmentally friendly, and economically viable method. In Phase I, Synanomet, LLC will:  (a) synthesize and characterize the thermal, spectral and structural properties of the lignin-based carbon-magnetite nanocomposites; (b) determine if the nanocomposites could lower a 1.0 mg/L phosphate concentration (in prepared stock solutions as well as samples from dairy waste runoffs) to below 0.1 mg/L (100 ppb) to be Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-compliant in several regions in the United States; (c) determine the conditions for regeneration of the spent nanocomposites; and (d) determine phosphate-removal efficiency of regenerated nanocomposites.
This technology represents a novel way for the remediation and restoration of water resources that impact agricultural operations and serves to promote watershed restoration. The cost per cubic foot of nanocomposite media synthesized in this project is projected to be $142/ft3 as opposed to similar iron nano impregnated IX resin (Layne RT), which sells for $280/ft3 (minimum unit rate). Also, none of the commercially available iron oxide-based media currently being marketed by Severn Trent, Hydroglobe, Solmetex, and others are renewable resource-based. The carbon-magnetite nanocomposites are multi-functional with potential applications in battery anodes, magnetic toners, and biogas purification as well as arsenic, selenium and fluoride removal.

Supplemental Keywords:

water, nanocomposite, phosphate, contamination, pollution, carbon-magnetite nanocomposite, SBIR, agricultural runoff, aqueous phosphate removal, eutrophication, watershed restoration

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

SBIR Phase II:

Novel Lignin-based Magnetite Nanocomposites for Removal of Phosphate from Contaminated Waters

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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