Remediation of chlorinated hydrocarbons in groundwater using nano-iron

Nanomaterials and nanoparticles have been increasingly applied in a number of products and applications over the past few years. The use of nanoparticles for the remediation of contaminated sites in particular has led to intense research from the laboratory to field applications. The basic idea of using nanoparticles is to make use of their high specific surface for remediation purposes (e.g. reactions with the contaminant). Several groups are working on modifying nanoparticles  to improve specific features such as transport characteristics or reactivity that are important for the in-situ treatment of certain contaminants. Several groups of nanoparticles are being developed, with nano-iron particles forming a very promising group. This group includes zero valent iron, as well as iron doped with palladium, platinum or nickel as catalysts. Iron particles can be used for degradation of a number of contaminants, especially halogenated methanes, ethanes and ethenes.

The project will address issues including the production of metabolites during degradation, controlled transport to the contaminant and the fate of the particles in the ground after reaction with the contaminant.

This project is based on international literature and focuses on the special hydrogeological situation of Austria, which differs from that in most parts of Germany or the US in terms of mineralogy and geology (coarsely clastic, more shallow). The results from the international literature therefore need to be used with caution as regards direct application to Austrian sites.

The use of nanoparticles is regarded as a very potent technology for remediation of contaminated sites. This project aims to contribute to building up expertise in this field in Austria.The project is performed in cooperation with the University of Vienna and is divided into three work packages:

WP1: Synthesis of new modified nano-iron particles with improved transport and reaction characteristics with chlorinated hydrocarbons in groundwater

WP2: Investigation of transport characteristics of modified versus non-modified particles

WP3: Investigation of reaction kinetics of modified versus non-modified particles