2018 Progress Report: Novel reactor design for enhanced removal of fluoride using a modified Nalgonda method

EPA Grant Number: SU836950
Title: Novel reactor design for enhanced removal of fluoride using a modified Nalgonda method
Investigators: Weber-Shirk, Monroe , Lion, Leonard William
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Phase: II
Project Period: February 1, 2017 through January 31, 2019 (Extended to January 31, 2020)
Project Period Covered by this Report: February 1, 2018 through January 31,2019
Project Amount: $75,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2016) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , P3 Awards , P3 Challenge Area - Water


The Fluoride team seeks to develop a sustainable, inexpensive fluoride removal system for treatment of contaminated groundwater. The team is developing a novel reactor system that will be ultra-low energy and low maintenance. The reactor system is based on the Nalgonda method and has been adapted for continuous flow with a fluidized bed coupled with lamellar sedimentation. The fluidized bed and lamellar sedimentation process efficiently separates the coagulant nanoparticles that have formed bonds with the fluoride from the water stream. The team is testing the feasibility of using a single stage reactor system rather than a double stage system for cases where the fluoride contamination levels are not excessive. They are currently developing an adsorption model for fluoride removal and designing a gravity powered pilot scale reactor that can be used for testing performance in the field.

Progress Summary:

The team has been testing the efficiency of fluoride removal using a floc blanket reactor. During experimentation, the team runs experiments with set concentrations of fluoride and coagulant that are then flocculated and sent to the reactor. In the reactor, the coagulated fluoride is filtered out. The fluoride concentration in the effluent stream of the reactor is then measured. This experimental data is currently being used to develop an adsorption model between fluoride and polyaluminum chloride. This model, when compared to the theoretical adsorption model, shows promising results and can be used to predict optimal coagulant dosages for fluoride removal processes.

Future Activities:

The team is working toward making this experimental apparatus entirely gravity-powered. The Fluoride team is making steady progress toward the goal of inventing a continuous flow fluoride removal reactor system that is both low cost to operate and easy to maintain. The adsorption model being developed will aid the team in understanding coagulant-fluoride interactions that can then be implemented in gravity-powered fluoride removal processes.

Supplemental Keywords:

fluidized floc reactor, gravity powered, continuous flow, fluoride removal

Relevant Websites:

AguaClara/Fluoride-Auto Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2017 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • P3 Phase I:

    Novel reactor design for enhanced removal of fluoride using a modified Nalgonda method  | Final Report