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Metal ion-rich composites as new sorbent materials for sustainable applications in waste minimization and circular economy
Project status: Ended
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PROJECT CODE: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2021-0771; Contract number: 3/04.05.2022


DURATION: 24 months; STARTING DATE: 04.05.2022 

FUNDING PROGRAMME: Human Resources; Subprogram: Young Research Teams

CONTRACTING AUTHORITY: Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding

TOTAL BUDGET: 450.000,00 lei



Sorption processes are widely investigated for wastewater purification because of advantages like simple handling, high efficiency and economic viability. Because sorbents have a finite number of interaction sites, the current approach of increasing their economic value consists in the desorption of retained pollutants, followed by regeneration for subsequent reuse. However, this results in the accumulation of concentrated wastes and damaged sorbents, whose disposal/neutralization creates additional environmental and economic problems. Consequently, the current project proposes to circumvent these disadvantages by identifying new strategies to valorize spent sorbents in subsequent water purification applications. In this purpose, new hydrogels with a controlled content of electron-rich atoms (N, S and O) will be prepared using chitosan, polyethyleneimine and thiourea. The obtained hydrogels will be loaded with Cu(II) and Ag(I) ions, that subsequently will be chemically reduced to metal nanoparticles, thus preparing new organic/inorganic composites. The synergism between the properties of both phases will then be explored by testing the composites in the sorption of heavy metal ions/organic dyes and the catalytic degradation of organic pollutants (such as nitrophenols) from wastewaters.

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