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Comment Water Treatment

A new catalyst removes cyanide from wastewater

By Gerald Ondrey |

Chemists at the University of Amsterdam (UvA; the Netherlands; www.uva.nl) have discovered a new catalytic method for removing cyanide ions from industrial wastewater. The heterogeneous catalyst — discovered jointly by Paula Oulego Blanco, Raveendran Shiju and professor Gadi Rothenberg from UvA’s Sustainable Chemistry research-priority area — has been shown to reduce CN– concentrations by 90% within minutes from wastewater simulating that produced at steel mills. Higher destruction efficiencies — up to 99.9% — can be achieved, says Rothenberg. Rothenberg declined to provide more details about the new catalyst, due to a pending patent, except to say it is a simple metallic salt whose “composition and price are such that it can easily be applied to a large-scale process without any economic penalty.” The catalyst can be used in either small-scale batch reactors or large-scale packed-bed continuous reactors. Initially, the technology transfer is focused on steel-mill effluents, and a project is currently moving to the scaleup phase. Since then, the technology has been tested on the effluent from the precious-metals sector, where the process volumes are smaller, but the CN– concentrations are much higher (up to 10,000…
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