, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 807-819
Date: 02 Jul 2008

Rapid and controlled transformation of nitrate in water and brine by stabilized iron nanoparticles

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Abstract

Highly reactive zero-valent iron (ZVI) nanoparticles stabilized with carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) were tested for reduction of nitrate in fresh water and brine. Batch kinetic tests showed that the pseudo first-order rate constant (k obs) with the stabilized nanoparticles was five times greater than that for non-stabilized counterparts. The stabilizer not only increased the specific surface area of the nanoparticles, but also increased the reactive particle surface. The allocation between the two reduction products, NH4 + and N2, can be manipulated by varying the ZVI-to-nitrate molar ratio and/or applying a Cu–Pd bimetallic catalyst. Greater CMC-to-ZVI ratios lead to faster nitrate reduction. Application of a 0.05 M HEPES buffer increased the k obs value by 15 times compared to that without pH control. Although the presence of 6% NaCl decreased k obs by 30%, 100% nitrate was transformed within 2 h in the saline water. The technology provides a powerful alternative for treating water with concentrated nitrate such as ion exchange brine.