Bio-Based Sorbents for Simultaneous Removal of Contaminants from Wastewaters Generated During Energy Production

Water and energy production are closely tied together. Water is an essential component for almost all types of energy generation including fossil fuels, nuclear power plants, carbon capture, and storage equipment. The continuously growing population and increasing demand for energy consumption is leading to water contamination and its proper treatment has become a global issue of concern.

The water used for energy production becomes contaminated through a variety of ways and carries wide number of different types of contaminants such as inorganics (heavy metals), organics and other water soluble/miscible by-products and co-products. Cost effective, sustainable, and scalable treatments with high efficiency for removal of multiple contaminants are highly desirable.

Recently we have developed a sorption technology which uses modified/engineered keratin biopolymers from poultry feathers to remove metals and naphthenic acids from oil sands process water. The developed sorbents were tested at lab scale for removal of 9 trace metals and naphthenic acids. The results are highly promising with very high sorption affinity for both metals and napthenic acids. We are currently testing to expand applicability of these biosorbents for various other contaminants.