Innovative Oxidation Treatment for Removal of MTBE From Drinking Water Using a Combined Photocatalytic Reactor and Ozone Generator

EPA Contract Number: 68D02011
Title: Innovative Oxidation Treatment for Removal of MTBE From Drinking Water Using a Combined Photocatalytic Reactor and Ozone Generator
Investigators: Steppan, James
Small Business: Ceramatec Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: April 1, 2002 through September 1, 2002
Project Amount: $69,926
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Oxygenates such as methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) have been used in the United States as octane enhancers in gasoline and to boost the oxygen content of reformulated gasoline, which was a requirement of the Clean Air Act. MTBE has found its way into lakes, underground aquifers, and urban wells in 49 states; MTBE is detected in 5-10 percent of community drinking water supplies in high-oxygenate use areas (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1999). In California alone, there currently are more than 10,000 sites impacted by MTBE contamination.

Advanced oxidation processes have significant potential for cleaning up these contaminated waters; however, a cost-effective advanced oxidation process that has achieved widespread commercial application has not yet been developed. Ceramatec, Inc.'s proposed process will achieve the goal of cost effectiveness by combining photocatalytic oxidation using ultraviolet-activated titania catalysts with ozone generation. This will result in a reactor that can process higher quantities of contaminated water than one of a comparable size that either is a photocatalytic or ozone reactor alone. Ceramatec, Inc. anticipates more complete oxidation with less residence time, thereby extending the performance capabilities of state-of-the-art advanced oxidation processes, while at the same time achieving the goal of cost effectiveness.

In Phase I, Ceramatec, Inc., will design and construct a prototype reactor for use as a combined photocatalytic/ozone oxidation system. Using simulated and actual groundwater samples, the degradation efficiency of MTBE oxidation will be tested and the results will be compared with competing technologies. Based on Phase I results, an engineering analysis will be performed using dimensionless groups for designing commercial-sized reactors.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, ozone, oxidation, drinking water, photocatalytic reactor, titania, MTBE, methyl tertiary butyl ether., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Toxics, Water, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem Protection, exploratory research environmental biology, Chemistry, Contaminant Candidate List, Ecological Effects - Human Health, Environmental Engineering, Drinking Water, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, alternative disinfection methods, Safe Drinking Water, gasoline, ecological exposure, monitoring, human health effects, exposure and effects, ozone generator, MTBE, exposure, photocatalytic reactor, treatment plants, chemical contaminants, treatment, water quality, drinking water contaminants, water treatment, contaminant removal, drinking water treatment, other - risk management

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report