Researchers in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, have developed a new brown coal based sorbent to remove heavy metals from water. The sorbent can be used many times, the Russian news agency TASS reported.
“We modified the required components of brown coal in such a way that boosts their ability to bind heavy metals dramatically. We placed these on a substrate, which gave us easy-to-use particles that can float on the surface of water. Once it has been used up, the sorbent can be re-collected, restored, and re-sent for a new water cleaning cycle,” said Igor Lomovsky, the acting head of a lab at the Institute of Solid-State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry.
The scientists are reported to treat brown coal in a way that helps triple its active components content (from 23% to 74%). No solvents are used in sorbent development. During experiments the sorbent lowered zinc content in water by 75%, cadmium by 79%, and copper by 65%.
While effective in heavy metals removal, the sorbent does not cause any algal bloom, a problem with competing sorbents, pointed out Tatiana Skripkina, one of the key developers of the project. The team is looking for ways of modifying the product for use by private households as well.