The Design of a Cost-Effective Titanium Dioxide Photo-Catalyst for the Removal of Arsenic in Drinking Water

EPA Grant Number: SU831832
Title: The Design of a Cost-Effective Titanium Dioxide Photo-Catalyst for the Removal of Arsenic in Drinking Water
Investigators: Warner, John C. , Duggan, John
Current Investigators: Warner, John C. , Cannon, Amy , Duggan, John , Johnson, Abby , McGonigle, Michael , Mendum, Ted , Pyres, John
Institution: University of Massachusetts - Lowell , Wentworth Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , P3 Challenge Area - Water , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Arsenic contamination of drinking water is a worldwide problem. Arsenic is dangerous to the developing fetus, causes blood problems, skin disease, and even cancer. The World Health Organization and the EPA have set a guideline of less than 0.010 mg/l arsenic in drinking water. While existing water treatment plants can meet this standard, the plants are concentrated in populated areas of the developed world. Construction and operational costs make meeting this standard using current technology prohibitive in developing countries. As growing populations require even larger quantities of clean water for drinking, arsenic contamination and the concomitant disease will severely limit economic development and quality of life attainable by people in these regions.

This proposal addresses the need for a cost-effective water treatment process capable of reducing arsenic concentrations in drinking water supplies for people in remote locations of the developing world to below the WHO/EPA standards. Our process is expected to be cheap and effective while requiring very little training to operate and maintain. The process is simple and does not require the extra addition of chemicals. The proposed process uses nely available short wavelength UV light emitting diodes coated with a titanium dioxide film in a palm-size device as a low-energy oxidant for trivalent and organic arsenic compounds. Iron scrap is used to irreversibly adsorb pentavalent (oxidized) arsenic. The process is not sensitive to the composition or pH of the supply water. The performance of the key technologies, oxidation and adsorption, will be evaluated experimentally in the Phase I program. A prototype device will be constructed during Phase II. Funding from WHO or the EPA will allow construction and delivery of devices after Phase II.

This grant will allow graduate students in the Green Chemistry program at UMass-Lowell to continue innovative work on titanium dioxide coatings. In addition, this project will be integrated into the curriculum at Wentworth Institute of Technology, where undergraduate students will integrate project work into their year-long environmental engineering Capstone-design project.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 6 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

groundwater, carcinogen, toxics, remediation., RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Water, TREATMENT/CONTROL, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Environmental Chemistry, Arsenic, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Monitoring, Water Pollutants, New/Innovative technologies, Drinking Water, drinking water treatment facilities, clean technologies, detoxification, titanium dioxide photo catalyast, environmental sustainability, green engineering, other - risk assessment, arsenic removal, adsorption, drinking water distribution system, treatment, activated carbons, drinking water contaminants, drinking water treatment, UV light emitting diodes, photocatalyst, green chemistry

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Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report