Louis Chapman, “Novel Porous Material for Removal of Ammonia from Water”
Mentor: Marcia Silva, Global Water Center
When rivers become overloaded with nutrients, they undergo expedited eutrophication, a process which leads to the proliferation of algae and threatens the health of our ecosystem. Modern practices in agriculture and industry lead to high volumes of nutrient discharge into the rivers. Wherever possible, we use available technologies to remove the contaminants from the run-off in these locations. Current methods of ammonia filtration such as nitrification and oxidation require installation of large tanks at the point of filtration. This incurs prohibitive costs and makes these methods unfit for wide-scale application. Furthermore, these options cannot be implemented in colder climates, necessitating the development of a new filtration mechanism. Many alternative methods such as chlorination perform best in the absence of other contaminants. This project focuses on development of an engineered natural porous material designed for removal of Ammonia from water. Our engineered material can operate in colder climates where nitrification cannot. This material does require low levels of water hardness to function properly, but it can be engineered to accept ammonia over other contaminants, making it a good choice for use in waters with multiple pollutants. Preliminary data shows a 70-80% removal of ammonia from water. This study aims to optimize adsorption capacity of the material and ensure its suitability for environmental applications.