Synthesis of Graphene Oxide/Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles and Its Application for Removal of Emerging Contaminants in Drinking Water

EPA Grant Number: SU836141
Title: Synthesis of Graphene Oxide/Magnesium Oxide Nanoparticles and Its Application for Removal of Emerging Contaminants in Drinking Water
Investigators: Sengor, S. Sevinc
Institution: Southern Methodist University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2015 through August 31, 2016
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Awards , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Sustainability , P3 Challenge Area - Water


The objective of this project is to synthesize novel and highly efficient graphene based nanocomposite materials for the efficient removal of emerging contaminants in water. Various emerging contaminants are being discovered in water supplies that have detrimental effects on humans, endangering the long term sustainability of drinking water supplies. There are different methods for the removal of these contaminants. Adsorption is one of the easiest and cheapest removal processes. Graphene, one of the most fascinating advanced carbon-based materials is a promising material to be used for this purpose, as it has extraordinary characteristics such as large theoretical surface area and good chemical stability. Graphene Oxide (GO), oxidized derivative of graphene, contains functional groups, which results it to be easily dispersed in aqueous solutions. However, separation of GO from water is a challenging issue after treatment. Several catalyst materials have been developed and examined in the recent decade to be combined with GO to overcome this problem. Magnesium oxide is a low cost alkaline earth metal oxide with high surface reactivity and high adsorption capacity. It has recently been used for the removal of various organic pollutants from water and wastewater. In this work, we will synthesize a new GO/MgO nanocomposite material and investigate its implementation for the removal of emerging contaminants in water.


The project will be accomplished through laboratory batch experiments. The synthesis of the nanocomposite material will be conducted using graphene based carbon materials, which will end up with high adsorption capacity to remove the emerging contaminants from drinking water. The experiments will be carried out using Bisphenol A (BPA) as a model endocrine disruptor compound (EDC), as it is one of the most commonly observed emerging contaminants in the aquatic environment. The results will be evaluated by testing the removal efficiency of BPA at various concentrations, using GO/MgO nanoparticles for the optimum GO dosage, GO/MgO ratio, pH and contact time.

Expected Results:

Successful completion of this project will result in the development of a novel and cost-effective graphene based material for the efficient removal of emerging contaminants in water. The project will also provide opportunities for students and communities to learn about the new emerging contaminants such as EDCs discovered in water supplies, and optimize next generation water treatment technologies for sustainable drinking water sources; addressing the three components of sustainability: people, prosperity and the planet.

Supplemental Keywords:

drinking water treatment, graphene oxide nanoparticles, magnesium oxide, emerging contaminants, environmental sustainability

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final