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Modifying waste biomass to catalytically degrade pollutants

By Paul Grad |

Sewage and wastewater often contain pollutants and environmental hormones (endocrine disruptors) that can have a negative effect on the environment and on human health. Catalysts currently used to destroy such pollutants involve high costs. And up to now, research has mostly focused on developing single-substance catalysts and enhancing their performance. Little research has been done to develop an eco-friendly nanocomposite catalyst capable of removing environmental hormones from sewage and wastewater. Now a research team from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST; Seoul, South Korea; https://eng.kist.re.kr), led by Jae-woo Choi and Kyung-won Jung, has utilized biochar created from rice hulls to produce an eco-friendly, low-cost and highly efficient catalyst. They coated the surface of the biochar with nano-sized manganese dioxide to create a nanocomposite. To make the catalyst, the KIST team used a hydrothermal method — a type of synthesis that uses high heat and pressure — to produce a nanocomposite. The team observed that giving the catalyst a three-dimensional, stratified structure resulted in the high effectiveness of the advanced oxidation process, due to the large surface area created. The catalyst developed…
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