H.E.N.C.I. Technology and the Advent of High-Flowrate Cost-Effective Nanocatalytic Groundwater Remediation

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When added to polluted water (employed in-solution e.g. in-situ), many new nano-sized catalyst particles have been shown to effect extremely rapid and complete catalytic destruction (chemical breakdown to benign species) of highly toxic / carcinogenic recalcitrant trace pollutants, largely of the large and ubiquitous CHC family of concern to regulatory agencies. Since this capability hold the potential to revolutionize groundwater remediation (GWR), the desire to use these highly effective catalysts for various large-scale GWR applications has been a natural consequence. But catalytic nanoparticles themselves are toxic, so their in-situ use necessitates that they in turn be completely removed from the treated water prior to its use. Moreover, because these particles are so small (and numerous), very robust (e.g. N.F or R.O.) operations would often be required to accomplish such removal, rendering most remediation operations cost-prohibitive.

Conversely, ex-situ use of nanocatalysts (immobilizing them on a ‘support’ in a flow-through reactor) has been stymied as well. Why? Until H.E.N.C.I, the nine engineering criteria inherent to immobilizing nano-sized particles for cost-effective ex-situ use (allowing scale-up for high throughput, high conversion applications like GWR) have proven insurmountable, precluding commercialization.

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