BioMes - Biosorbent Mesoporous materials for Heavy-metal Recovery from Industrial Waste

BioMes

Project Title: BioMes - Biosorbent Mesoporous materials for Heavy-metal Recovery from Industrial Waste

Researcher:Dr. Eoin Flynn

T: 00 353 (0)21 490 1961

E: eoin.flynn@ucc.ie

Funding Body: EPA

Project type: Principal Investigation

Period: February 2016 – February 2018

Project description:

Development of biosorbents from Irish brown seaweeds for remediation of metals from waste effluents.

Ireland has among the most diverse, abundant, sustainable and accessible brown seaweed resources in the world. This is an almost untapped resource and these seaweeds are a rich source of useful biopolymers.

Brown seaweed biopolymers are the most effective metal biosorbents known and are significantly cheaper than competing technologies. But historically, they cannot be cheaply produced with sufficiently high surface areas.

This project uses a simple method to cheaply produce mesoporous materials from seaweed – potentially increasing metal sorption capacity - without the need for expensive supercritical fluids typically required. So far this method has resulted in increases in the surface area of seaweed materials of up to 10000 times.

The work aims to produce biosorbents which permit low-cost, environmentally friendly clean-up of metals from waste effluents.Metals concerned are Cr (chromium - highest economic value of all CRMs identified by the EU), Cu, Zn (copper and zinc – the two most common valuable metals in industrial effluents in Ireland), La (lanthanum - a rare earth element) and Pb (lead – a common water pollutant).

Future work will look to expand the technology to as many metals and wastes as possible.

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork

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