Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Method Removes Gas Additive MTBE From Tainted Water

Date:
March 31, 2000
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
A Purdue University chemist has developed an experimental method that could be used to remove the gasoline additive MTBE from polluted ground water.

WESTVILLE, Ind. – A Purdue University chemist has developed an experimental method that could be used to remove the gasoline additive MTBE from polluted ground water.

Reynaldo Barreto, an associate professor of chemistry at Purdue's North Central campus in Westville, will present a paper about the work on Wednesday, March 29, during a meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco.

MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is a chemical compound added as an "oxygenator" to make gasoline burn cleaner and reduce air pollutants. However, the chemical has become a potential water pollution problem because it is water soluble and is difficult to remove from the environment. It gets into ground water from leaky underground gasoline storage tanks.

"It has a very distinctive odor, and it is detectable at extremely low levels," Barreto says. "If I were to dilute an ounce of MTBE into a ton of water, you would be able to smell the MTBE."

Moreover, none of the conventional methods for removing pollutants from ground water will work effectively for MTBE. Consequently, although it is unclear whether the compound poses serious health dangers in the concentrations found in ground water, contamination has become a concern to communities across the nation and officials are searching for other oxygenators as replacements for MTBE in gasoline.

Barreto's technique for removing MTBE involves exposing tainted water to high-energy ultraviolet rays, which eventually turns the compound into carbon dioxide. To make the reaction possible, oxygen is bubbled into the water and the common catalyst titanium dioxide — an ingredient of white paint – is added to the water.

"After a couple of hours I can eliminate the bulk of the MTBE," says Barreto, who has been working on the method for about nine years. "But the technique that I've developed at this point has never been tried in a commercially viable way.

"I have shown it to a number of engineers and they've all said, 'This isn't cost effective because it takes too long,' to which my response is, as compared to what? It's faster than what we have now, which is nothing."

Details about the technique were published in the journal Water Research in 1995. The work to be discussed at the March meeting will focus on the technique's use in removing two possible MTBE replacement compounds from water. Those possible alternatives to MTBE are ethyl tertiary butyl ether, or ETBE, and tertiary amyl methyl ether, or TAME. However, their safety has yet to be determined, Barreto says.

"Rather than trying to develop techniques after compounds have contaminated ground water, why not try to figure it out now?" Barreto says. "MTBE was put into gasoline before anybody knew anything about it."

Data indicate that his technique is slightly less effective in removing the two possible alternatives from water than it is in removing MTBE from water. He currently is working to prove that the method also turns ETBE and TAME into carbon dioxide.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "Method Removes Gas Additive MTBE From Tainted Water." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000331084116.htm>.
Purdue University. (2000, March 31). Method Removes Gas Additive MTBE From Tainted Water. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000331084116.htm
Purdue University. "Method Removes Gas Additive MTBE From Tainted Water." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000331084116.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins