Performance of nanoscale zero-valent iron in nitrate reduction from water using a laboratory-scale continuous-flow system

Ahmed M.E. Khalil, Osama Eljamal, Bidyut Baran Saha, Nobuhiro Matsunaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) is a versatile treatment reagent that should be utilized in an effective application for nitrate remediation in water. For this purpose, a laboratory-scale continuous-flow system (LSCFS) was developed to evaluate nZVI performance in removal of nitrate in different contaminated-water bodies. The equipment design (reactor, settler, and polisher) and operational parameters of the LSCFS were determined based on nZVI characterization and nitrate reduction kinetics. Ten experimental runs were conducted at different dosages (6, 10 and 20 g) of nZVI-based reagents (nZVI, bimetallic nZVI-Cu, CuCl2-added nZVI). Effluent concentrations of nitrogen and iron compounds were measured, and pH and ORP values were monitored. The major role exhibited by the recirculation process of unreacted nZVI from the settler to the reactor succeeded in achieving overall nitrate removal efficiency (RE) of >90%. The similar performance of both nZVI and copper-ions-modified nZVI in contaminated distilled water was an indication of LSCFS reliability in completely utilizing iron nanoparticles. In case of treating contaminated river water and simulated groundwater, the nitrate reduction process was sensitive towards the presence of interfering substances that dropped the overall RE drastically. However, the addition of copper ions during the treatment counteracted the retardation effect and greatly enhanced the nitrate RE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-512
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry


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