Application of magnetic nanoparticles and reactive filter materials for wastewater treatment

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Abstract: Lately sewage wastewater treatment processes (WWTP) are facing challenges due to strict regulations in quality of effluent standards and waste production. The reuse of wastewater treatment effluents is rapidly gaining attention as a means of achieving sustainable water supply. Therefore, new methods are required to achieve an efficient WWTP. The foremost emphasis of the present study is to investigate filter materials, synthesis, characterization, and application of magnetic nanoparticles (NPs) for WWTP. Primarily commercially available reactive filter materials such as Polonite and Sorbulite were tested for the effective reduction of contaminants in recirculation batch mode system. Secondly, the magnetic nanoparticles were synthesized using different techniques such as water-in-oil (w/o) microemulsion and co- precipitation methods and testing for their ability to remove contaminants from wastewater. Thirdly, toxicity test of magnetic NPs were performed using human keratinocytes (HaCaT) and endothelial (HMEC-1) cells (Papers I-VII).The magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (MION) synthesized using the co-precipitation method were further functionalized with tri-sodium citrate (TSC), 3-aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APTES), polyethylenimine (PEI) and chitosan. The functionalized MION were further characterized prior to use in removal of contaminants from wastewater. The sewage wastewater samples were collected from Hammarby Sjöstadsverk, Sweden and analyses were performed for the reduction of turbidity, color, total nitrogen, total organic carbon, phosphate and microbial content on the retrieval day.The experimental results imply that Polonite and Sorbulite require high pH for the efficient reduction of phosphate and the reduction of microbes. Microemulsion prepared magnetic nanoparticles (ME-MION) showed ≈100% removal of phosphate in 20 minutes. Results from TEM implied that the size of magnetic Nps were around 8 nm for core (uncoated MION), TSC (11.5 nm), APTES (20 nm), PEI (11.8 nm) and chitosan (15 nm). Optimization studies using central composite face centered (CCF) design showed the potential of magnetic nanoparticles for the removal of turbidity (≈83%) and total nitrogen (≈33%) in 60 minutes. The sludge water content was reduced significantly by ≈87% when magnetic NPs were used whilst compared to the chemical precipitant used in WWTP. PEI coated MION showed ≈50% removal of total organic carbon from wastewater in 60 minutes. Effluents from wastewater treated with magnetic NPs were comparable with effluent from the present WWTP. There was no significant change observed in mineral ion concentration before and after treatment with MION. In addition, toxicity results from HMEC-1 and HaCaT cells revealed no formation of reactive oxygen species in the presence of magnetic NPs. Furthermore, laboratory experiments revealed the effectiveness and reusability of magnetic NPs. Thus magnetic NPs are a potential wastewater treatment agent and can be used for effective removal of contaminants, thereby reducing the process time, sludge water content and complex process steps involved in conventional WWTP.

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