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Biodegradable and environmentally friendly hydrogels for removing contaminants from groundwater

Grant number: 20/12208-9
Support type:Research Grants - Research Partnership for Technological Innovation - PITE
Duration: June 01, 2021 - May 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering - Water Resources
Cooperation agreement: SABESP
Principal researcher:Derval dos Santos Rosa
Grantee:Derval dos Santos Rosa
Home Institution: Centro de Engenharia, Modelagem e Ciências Sociais Aplicadas (CECS). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
City: Santo André
Assoc. researchers:Alexandre Tadeu Paulino ; Rodrigo de Freitas Bueno


Water is a highly important natural resource, and its quality is one of humanity's greatest concerns. The water resources anthropogenic pollution with inorganic and organic contaminants generates catastrophic effects for humans and the environment, resulting in a continuous search for efficient and sustainable methods of environmental remediation. This interdisciplinary project involves different areas of knowledge and aims to develop porous biodegradable materials using low cost, environmentally friendly methodologies, analyzed by Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and applicable on a large scale, in the contaminated groundwater treatment. The adsorption and desorption efficiencies of these new materials to be developed will be studied in the removal of contaminants: arsenic, selenium, nitrate, total chromium, permanent hardness, fluoride, and microorganisms (total coliforms and Escherichia coli). The organic matter reduction in polluted waters using hydrogels will also be estimated, by measures of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). The hydrogels will be prepared from biodegradable raw materials and renewable sources, with the incorporation of nanocelluloses (without and with modification with different chelating agents) or nanoclays with high adsorption capacity. Materials prepared with their different properties, performance, biodegradation, and ecotoxicity will be characterized, seeking to investigate their environmental impacts from beginning to end in the LCA production chain. Through LCA analysis, it will also be possible to estimate the cost/benefit of the studied processes and the possibilities for resizing laboratory plants to large-scale plants. The current materials used in water treatment do not completely remove metals and after being used are incinerated. In addition, there are not many studies on the removal of some inorganic pollutants proposed in this project and the removal of COD and BOD using hydrogels. Thus, this project aims to develop porous materials with high groundwater purification capacity, on a pilot scale, and that minimize serious environmental problems. (AU)

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