Efficient Acid Mine Drainage Multimetal Removal/RecoveryEPA Contract Number: EPD04022
Title: Efficient Acid Mine Drainage Multimetal Removal/Recovery
Investigators: James, Patrick I.
Current Investigators: Buschmann, Wayne E.
Small Business: Eltron Research & Development Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Project Period: March 1, 2004 through August 31, 2004
Project Amount: $69,996
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2004) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Mining , Hazardous Waste/Remediation , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
Eltron Research, Inc., is seeking to develop an automated, solar-powered, flow-through prototype acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment system for unattended mitigation of AMD at thousands of abandoned mines and AMD currently entering the environment without any treatment. Harmful metals that are not readily degraded or detoxified enter the environment in significant quantities via numerous industrial activities and frequently pose long-term environmental hazards. The goal of this Phase I research project is to develop a novel electrolytic technology for efficient aqueous source multimetal contaminant removal/recovery. The proposed innovative cell design will achieve significantly improved removal efficiencies at lower contaminant concentrations, dramatically reduced fluid management power costs, and higher operating current densities, allowing smaller and cheaper treatment units compared to conventional technology. The technology will work with a variety of common contaminants and mixtures. The technology will be compact, reagentless, require no feedstream pretreatment, and recover the contaminant as a compact, pure, and potentially saleable product. Cell performance, stability, and design optimization will be explored with the common model AMD contaminants. The performance of the preferred design identified then will be expanded and optimized to mixtures of relevant contaminants.
Results will be used to develop treatment cost estimates, design a prototype pilot-scale remediation system for Phase II implementation and subsequent field trial evaluation, and perform feasibility analysis against various AMD and contamination source scenarios. The technology will provide an efficient and cost-effective means of managing small-to-moderate contamination sources in an unattended fashion at remote sites. The technology will be applicable to AMD, treatment of heavy metals and radionuclide contaminated sites, and treatment of industrial effluents. Examples include electrowinning, plating plant, pickling operations, and circuit board manufacture (etching) discharges.