Arizona State University
Dr. Bruce E. Rittmann is Regents’ Professor of Environmental Engineering and Director of the Biodesign Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology at Arizona State University. His research focuses on the science and engineering needed to “manage microbial communities to provide services to society.” The services includes bioremediation of hard-to-biodegrade organic compounds, such as 1,4-dioxane and PFAS. Dr. Rittmann is a member of the National Academy of Engineering; a Fellow of AAAS, WEF, IWA, AEESP, and NAI; a Distinguished Member of ASCE; and co-winner of the 2018 Stockholm Water Prize. Dr. Rittmann has published over 730 journal articles, books, and book chapters, and he has 17 patents.
Synergistic remediation of 1,4-dioxane, TCE, and TCA in Groundwater
Since 1,4-dioxane is a stabilizer for TCE and TCA, it often is a co-contaminant with either or both of the chlorinated solvents. Our team is developing and testing a synergistic platform for the remediation of all three together. The first stage is reductive dechlorination of TCE and TCA completely to ethane using a novel H2-based Membrane Palladium-film Reactor (H2-MPfR). Catalysis using Pd-nanoparticles coated on hollow-fiber membranes achieves complete reduction to ethane. In the second stage, ethane serves as the electron donor for aerobic bacteria able to dechlorinate 1,4-dioxane and mineralize it to CO2, H2O, and Cl-. The second stage utilizes an oxygen-based membrane biofilm reactor (O2-MBfR) in which ethane is the bacteria’s primary electron donor and inducer of the oxygenase needed to initiate dioxane biodegradation. The presentation will document the performance of each stage and the two-stage synergistic platform.