Reactive membranes for groundwater remediation of chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons: Competitive dechlorination and cost aspects

Hongyi Wan, Md Saiful Islam, Tahiya Tarannum, Ke Shi, Rollie Mills, Zhiyuan Yi, Fumohan Fang, Linfeng Lei, Siyao Li, Lindell Ormsbee, Zhi Xu, Dibakar Bhattacharyya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


A nanocomposite membrane incorporating reactive Pd-Fe nanoparticles (NPs) was developed to remediate chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs) from groundwater. Other than recapturing the produced Fen+ for in-situ regeneration, the functionalized polyanions prevented NPs agglomeration and resulting in a spherical Fe0 core (55 nm, O/Fe = 0.05) and an oxidized shell (4 nm, O/Fe = 1.38). The reactive membranes degraded 92% of target CAHs with a residence time of 1.7 s. After long-term treatment and regeneration, reusability was confirmed through recovered reactivity, recurrence of Fe0 in X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and >96% remaining of Fe and Pd. The total cost (adjusted present value for 20 years) was estimated to be 13.9% lower than the granular activated carbon system, following an EPA work breakdown structure-based cost model. However, non-target CAHs from groundwater can compete for active sites, leading to decreased surface-area normalized dechlorination rate (ksa) by 28.2–79.9%. A hybrid nanofiltration (NF)/reactive membrane was proposed to selectively intercept larger competitors, leading to 54% increased dechlorination efficiency and 1.3 to 1.9-fold enlarged ksa. Overall, the practical viability of the developed reactive membranes was demonstrated by the stability, reusability, and cost advantages, while the optional NF strategy could alleviate competitive degradation towards complex water chemistry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123955
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Competitive dechlorination
  • Cost estimation
  • Focused ion beam
  • Reactive membrane
  • Zero-valent iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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