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  • Author: Stanisław Wacławek x
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Abstract

Amongst all of the reducing agents that can be used in environmental remediation, zero valent iron (ZVI) is one of the most common due to its environmental acceptance, high reaction rate, good availability, and long-term stability. Moreover, ZVI mobility, stability and reactivity can be enhanced by the application of a DC electric current, ie electrokinetics (EK). In the study, six various slurries containing different ZVI were tested for their efficacy for chlorinated ethenes and ethanes degradation. Chlorinated compound concentrations, pH, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP) and conductivity were determined during the long-term kinetic test. Kinetic rate constants calculated for the degradation of three chlorinated ethenes (PCE, TCE and cis-DCE) concluded that EK brings substantial contribution to chlorinated compounds degradation. Nano-scale zero valent iron STAR had the highest reaction rates compare to the other ZVI tested. The performed study could serve as a preliminary assessment of various available ZVI before in-situ application.

Abstract

Heterogeneous catalysis is one of the fastest developing branches of chemistry. Moreover, it is strongly connected to popular environment-related applications. Owing to the very fast changes in this field, for example, numerous discoveries in nanoscience and nanotechnologies, it is believed that an update of the literature on heterogeneous catalysis could be beneficial. This review not only covers the new developments of heterogeneous catalysis in environmental sciences but also touches its historical aspects. A short introduction to the mechanism of heterogeneous catalysis with a small section on advances in this field has also been elaborated. In the first part, recent innovations in the field of catalytic air, water, wastewater and soil treatment are presented, whereas in the second part, innovations in the use of heterogeneous catalysis for obtaining sustainable energy and chemicals are discussed. Catalytic processes are ubiquitous in all branches of chemistry and there are still many unsolved issues concerning them.

Abstract

Humankind actions are exerting increasing effect on the environment on all scales, in a lot of ways overcoming natural processes. During the last 100 years human population went up from little more than one to six billion and economic activity increased nearly ten times between 1950 and the present time. In the last few decades of the twentieth century, anthropogenic chlorofluorocarbon release have led to a dramatic decrease in levels of stratospheric ozone, creating ozone hole over the Antarctic, as a result UV-B radiation from the sun increased, leading for example to enhanced risk of skin cancer. Releasing more of a greenhouse gases by mankind, such as CO2, CH4, NOx to the atmosphere increases the greenhouse effect. Even if emission increase has held back, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations would continue to raise and remain high for hundreds of years, thus warming Earth’s climate. Warming temperatures contribute to sea level growth by melting mountain glaciers and ice caps, because of these portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets melt or flow into the ocean. Ice loss from the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could contribute an additional 19-58 centimeters of sea level rise, hinge on how the ice sheets react. Taking into account these and many other major and still growing footprints of human activities on earth and atmosphere without any doubt we can conclude that we are living in new geological epoch named by P. Crutzen and E. Stoermer in 2000 - “Anthropocene”. For the benefit of our children and their future, we must do more to struggle climate changes that have had occurred gradually over the last century.

Abstract

Large amounts of sludge are produced in biological wastewater treatment plants. Since the sludge is highly contaminated, it has to undergo proper stabilization before it is disposed or utilized in an environmentally safe way. On the whole, the aim of bacterial cell disintegration is the release of cell contents in the form of an aqueous extract. Chemical disintegration of surplus activated sludge by alkalization results in destruction and disruption of the flocs and microorganisms as well as increase concentration of organic matter in supernatant. The mesophilic anaerobic sewage sludge digestion is an established process, most often applied at medium and large municipal sewage treatment plants. Four major steps of anaerobic digestion are distinguished. The first hydrolysis step leads to solubilization of insoluble particulate matter and biological decomposition of organic polymers to monomers or dimers. The hydrolysis step is recognized as the rate-limiting step of the following second and third steps, the processes of acidogenesis and acetogenesis. Chemical disintegration activates biological hydrolysis and, therefore, it can significantly increase the stabilization rate of the secondary sludge. It has been shown that when the activated sludge was subjected to alkalization to pH 9.0 value, the COD concentration increased from 101 to 530 mg/dm3 in sludge supernatant. The paper presents a potential application of chemical disintegration for sewage sludge (mainly activated sludge) to upgrading biogas production.

Abstract

Recently electrospinning has gained significant attention due to unique possibilities to produce novel natural nanofibers and fabrics with controllable pore structure. The present study focuses on the fabrication of electrospun fibres based on gum karaya (GK), a natural tree gum, with polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), and functionalization of the membrane with TiO2 nanoparticles with further methane plasma treatment. The GK/PVA/TiO2 membrane was analyzed with several techniques including: fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscopy with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), and water contact angle, in order to characterize its morphological and physicochemical properties. The GK/PVA/TiO2 membrane was further successfully used for the degradation (under UV irradiation) of bisphenol A and diclofenac from aqueous solution. It was also observed that the degradation kinetics of these compounds are faster in comparison to the UV treatment alone.

Abstract

Due to the extreme toxicity of polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (PCDD/F), the remediation of PCDD/F aquifer source zones is greatly needed; however, it is very difficult due to their persistence and recalcitrance. The potential degradability of PCDD/F bound to a real matrix was studied in five systems: iron in a high oxidation state (ferrate), zero-valent iron nanoparticles (nZVI), palladium nanopowder (Pd), a combination of nZVI and Pd, and persulfate (PSF). The results were expressed by comparing the total toxicity of treated and untreated samples. This was done by weighting the concentrations of congeners (determined using a standardized GC/HRMS technique) by their defined toxicity equivalent factors (TEF). The results indicated that only PSF was able to significantly degrade PCDD/F. Toxicity in the system decreased by 65% after PSF treatment. Thus, we conclude that PSF may be a potential solution for in-situ remediation of soil and groundwater at PCDD/F contaminated sites.

Abstract

The recent advances and potential applications of nanoparticles and nanofibres for energy, water, food, biotechnology, the environment, and medicine have immensely conversed. The present review describes a ‘green’ method for the synthesis and stabilization of nanoparticles and ‘green electrospinning’ both using tree gums (arabic, tragacanth, karaya and kondagogu). Furthermore, this review focuses on the impending applications of both gum stabilized nanoparticles and functionalized membranes in remediation of toxic metals, radioactive effluents, and the adsorptive removal of nanoparticulates from aqueous environments as well as from industrial effluents. Besides, the antibacterial properties of gum derivatives, gum stabilized nanoparticles, and functionalized electrospun nanofibrous membranes will also be highlighted. The functionalities of nanofibrous membranes that can be enhanced by various plasma treatments (oxygen and methane, respectively) will also be emphasized.

Abstract

The previously received results of individual processes of hydrodynamic and alkaline disintegration were decisive significant for the conducted research task. The combination of hydrodynamic cavitation (30 minutes duration of the process) and alkaline (pH ≈ 9) to the destruction of activated sludge caused a significant release of organic matter about 1383 mg/dm3 in comparing to individual processes. Such increase in the SCOD value resulted in a significant growth the efficiency of biogas yield in a two-stage mesophilic-thermophilic processes. The increase in yield was from 26 to 38% depending on the volume of disintegrated sludge. The effect of the two-stage fermentation resulted activated sludge hygienisation. The microbiological analysis of the influence of the fermentation with the different volume of hybrid disintegrated sludge was based on microbiological indicators: Salmonella spp. and coliphages. The obtained results prove the effectiveness of the two-stage digestion process compared to single mesophilic fermentation which not always completely eliminates the above indicators.