A Novel Technology for the Treatment of Wastewater Using a Ubiquitous Chitosan Matrix With Varying Active Components

EPA Grant Number: FP917515
Title: A Novel Technology for the Treatment of Wastewater Using a Ubiquitous Chitosan Matrix With Varying Active Components
Investigators: Yamani, Jamila Saifee
Institution: Yale University
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: August 1, 2012 through July 31, 2015
Project Amount: $126,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Environmental Engineering


Industrial manufacturing and mining processes produce wastewaters that are laden with a variety of heavy metal contaminants. As these metal solutions are released into the environment, there is a high potential for contamination of surface and ground water, which can serve as the primary drinking water source for many communities as well as the basis for ecological habitats. The proposed research intends to leverage a novel adsorbent design as a sustainable platform technology for the removal of multiple metal contaminants from aqueous systems.


The first stage of optimization of this chitosan-based metal remediation technology is the step-wise integration of active adsorbents (i.e., nanocrystalline metal oxides) into the chitosan matrix and assessment of the removal of co-existing heavy metal contaminants from aqueous solution. The evaluation of other ligand-metal complexes that are compatible with the current design will follow. Finally, relevant matrix/ligand characteristics, system design and operating parameters will be optimized for implementation.

Expected Results:

The chitosan-based adsorbent, termed metal-oxide impregnated chitosan beads (MICB), of varying composition successfully will remediate aqueous solutions with a variety of metal contaminants with efficiencies comparable to those of neat nanopowder. The production process will make use of benign materials, and treatment of contaminated water will require minimal energy input. Rapid small-scale column tests using MICB will be instrumental in constructing a large-scale prototype for practical applications.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection

The ultimate goal of this research is to implement a ubiquitous and sustainable heavy metal remediation technology to offset the risks posed by wastewater runoff from anthropogenic practices. Although many technologies for specific metal remediation already exist, there is no single technology that addresses a large variety of related contaminants. Widescale use of a simple, sustainable technology is key to successful remediation of these contaminated streams and recovery of the disturbed human communities and ecological habitats.

Supplemental Keywords:

heavy metal contaminants, water, sustainable

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2013
  • 2014
  • Final