Nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) for the treatment of concentrated Cu(II) wastewater: a field demonstration.Environ Sci Process Impacts 2014; 16(3):524-33ES
A field demonstration was conducted to assess the feasibility of nanoscale zero-valent iron (nZVI) for the treatment of wastewater containing high levels of Cu(II). Pilot tests were performed at a printed-circuit-board manufacturing plant, treating 250,000 L of wastewater containing 70 mg L(-1) Cu(II) with a total of 55 kg of nZVI. A completely mixed reactor of 1,600 L was operated continuously with flow rates ranging from 1000 to 2500 L h(-1). The average Cu(II) removal efficiency was greater than 96% with 0.20 g L(-1) nZVI and a hydraulic retention time of 100 min. The nZVI reactor achieved a remarkably high volumetric loading rate of 1876 g Cu per m(3) per day for Cu(II) removal, surpassing the loading rates of conventional technologies by more than one order of magnitude. The average removal capacity of nZVI for Cu(II) was 0.343 g Cu per gram of Fe. The Cu(II) removal efficiency can be reliably regulated by the solution Eh, which in turn is a function of nZVI input and hydraulic retention time. The ease of separation and recycling of nZVI contribute to process up-scalability and cost effectiveness. Cu(II) was reduced to metallic copper and cuprite (Cu2O). The end product is a valuable composite of iron and copper (∼20-25%), which can partially offset the treatment costs.