Hydrophobic aerogels for the removal of persistent organic pollutants during the pre-treatment of landfill leachate.
In this project, we will investigate an advanced, practical and potentially cost-effective
sorption technology for removing persistent organic pollutants (POPs) during the pre-treatment
of landfill leachate, thereby reducing the burden on the wastewater treatment plant
and reducing the environmental release. Sorption based methods of pre-treatment are
cost competitive, do not require energy input or sophisticated handling, have the
potential for reuse, and have been proven successful in leachate pre-treatment. In
particular, aerogels are silica nanomaterials characterized by having extremely high
porosities and low densities, high specific surface areas, high dielectric strengths,
and low thermal conductivities (Barrios et al. 2019). These properties make aerogels
competitive sorbent materials for industrial waste pre-treatment, though this concept
is still unexplored, especially for leachate treatment. The end goal of this research
is to provide design criteria for aerogel deployment to sorb and remove POPs from
leachate during pretreatment, thereby reducing leachate environmental impacts.
This work is being funded by The Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management (www.hinkleycenter.org).