Removing toxic chemicals from water: New environmentally-friendly method

Researchers from Swansea University have developed a new environmentally friendly method for removing toxic chemicals from water.


A newly invented machine, called the Matrix Assembly Cluster Source (MACS), has been used to design a breakthrough water treatment method using a solvent-free approach.

The research, from The Institute for Innovative Materials, Processing and Numerical Technologies (IMPACT) within the College of Engineering at Swansea University, was funded by the EPSRC and led by Professor Richard Palmer.

Professor Richard Palmer explains: "The harmful organic molecules are destroyed by a powerful oxidising agent, ozone, which is boosted by a catalyst. Usually such catalysts are manufactured by chemical methods using solvents, which creates another problem -- how to deal with the effluents from the manufacturing process?

The Swansea innovation is a newly invented machine that manufactures the catalyst by physical methods, involving no solvent, and therefore no effluent. The new technique is a step change in the approach to water treatment and other catalytic processes."

Professor Palmer continues: "Our new approach to making catalysts for water treatments uses a physical process which is vacuum-based and solvent free method. The catalyst particles are clusters of silver atoms, made with the newly invented MACS machine.

It solves the long-standing problem of low cluster production rate -- meaning, for the first time, it is now possible to produce enough clusters for study at the test-tube level, with the potential to then scale-up further to the level of small batch manufacturing and beyond."

The clusters are approximately 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and have been of significant interest to researchers because of their unique properties. However, due to the inadequate rate of cluster production, research in this area has been limited.

The new MACS method has changed this -- it scales up the intensity of the cluster beam to produce enough grams of cluster powder for practical testing. The addition of ozone to the powder then destroys pollutant chemicals from water, in this case nitrophenol.

On the future potential of this breakthrough technology, Professor Palmer summarises: "The MACS approach to the nanoscale design of functional materials opens up completely new horizons across a wide range of disciplines -- from physics and chemistry to biology and engineering. Thus, it has the power to enable radical advances in advanced technology -- catalysts, biosensors, materials for renewable energy generation and storage.

It seems highly appropriate that the first practical demonstration of Swansea s environmentally friendly manufacturing process concerns something we are all concerned about -- clean water!"

Materials provided by Swansea University . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Swansea University. "Removing toxic chemicals from water: New environmentally-friendly method." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2020. .

Swansea University. "Removing toxic chemicals from water: New environmentally-friendly method." ScienceDaily. (accessed June 30, 2020).



June 5, 2019 — The problem of cleaning up toxic polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) pollution -- commonly used in non-stick and protective coatings, lubricants and aviation fire-fighting foams -- has been ...

July 14, 2017 — An environmentally friendly method to produce BPA-free polycarbonate from limonene and carbon dioxide has been developed by a team of ...

May 23, 2017 — Chemists have developed a new method that allows them to map changes in the dynamics and structure of water molecules in the vicinity of solutes. With this technique, called terahertz calorimetry, ...

June 21, 2016 — Scientists have developed a new analysis method that uses magnetic fields to quickly and accurately measure the concentration of aluminum used to purify tap water. These findings can potentially be ...
News Topics :
Chemists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore NTU Singapore have discovered a method that could turn plastic waste into valuable chemicals by using sunlight. advertisement In lab experiments, the research team...
Scientists seeking to design new catalysts to convert carbon dioxide CO2 to methane have used a novel artificial intelligence AI approach to identify key catalytic properties. By using this method...
Energy The use of solar and wind energy must be doubled to meet the world s demand for clean energy over the next 30 years. Catalysts that can ensure the...
A team of researchers has developed a portable, more environmentally friendly method to produce hydrogen peroxide. It could enable hospitals to make their own supply of the disinfectant on demand...
Our team combined a catalyst we recently discovered with new and exciting chemistry to find the first high yield, low cost method of manufacturing butadiene, says Dionisios Vlachos, Director of...