Novel Method for Ferrate ProductionEPA Contract Number: 68D02054
Title: Novel Method for Ferrate Production
Investigators: Denvir, Adrian J.
Small Business: Lynntech Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: June 1, 2002 through June 1, 2004
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2002) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Hazardous Waste/Remediation , SBIR - Waste , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Description:New environmental regulations have identified many of the currently used oxidizing agents employed for industrial waste control, disinfection, and wastewater treatment as a caveat that must be addressed. Ferrate has potential for becoming the alternative of choice because of its aggressive oxidation properties and its negligible impact on the environment. However, there has been little industrial interest in ferrate because of the high cost of production. All known methods of ferrate synthesis are extremely expensive and hence, less effective oxidizing agents that are much more affordable to produce are commonly employed. During Phase I, Lynntech, Inc., developed an environmentally benign electrochemical process for the production of greater than 98 percent pure potassium ferrate that is at least one-tenth the cost of conventional methods. The most attractive features of this process are its reliance on low-cost starting materialsmost of which are recyclable, and the elimination of expensive ion exchange membranes. Utilizing continuous magnetic separation of ferrate from the electrochemical cell ensures that this process is ideally suited for industrial use. In Phase II, Lynntech, Inc., proposes to optimize ferrate production and extraction to develop a continuous, online system for yearly production of up to 100 kg of high-purity product. This project involves a collaborative effort between Lynntech, Inc., and leading companies in the specialty chemicals industry to develop this innovative process of ferrate production for implementation in the commercial marketplace.
Widespread applications of oxidizing agents range from disinfection and sterilization to wastewater treatment and removal of hazardous waste materials as well as batteries and catalytic synthesis of explosives. However, many of the currently available oxidants are limited by the requirement of harmful starting materials or the generation of large volumes of negative-value byproducts. Ferrate has been shown to be effective in many of these applications, where the only byproduct of oxidation is environmentally benign rust. Lynntech, Inc., already has demonstrated the effectiveness of ferrate utilization in aluminum conversion coatings and nuclear waste remediation, which have combined markets in excess of $4 billion.