Sustainable Pyrolytic Production of Zerovalent Iron

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Lawrinenko, Michael
Laird, David
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van Leeuwen, Johannes
Professor Emeritus
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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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The Department of Agronomy seeks to teach the study of the farm-field, its crops, and its science and management. It originally consisted of three sub-departments to do this: Soils, Farm-Crops, and Agricultural Engineering (which became its own department in 1907). Today, the department teaches crop sciences and breeding, soil sciences, meteorology, agroecology, and biotechnology.

The Department of Agronomy was formed in 1902. From 1917 to 1935 it was known as the Department of Farm Crops and Soils.

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  • Department of Farm Crops and Soils (1917–1935)

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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Pyrolysis of biorenewable feedstocks and iron oxides is potentially a greener and more sustainable pathway to producing zerovalent iron (ZVI) for environmental rehabilitation. The resulting biochar-zerovalent iron (BC-ZVI) also shows improved remediation kinetics of trichloroethylene over conventional ZVI. Understanding the transformations of iron to ZVI and the influence of feedstock chemistry on ZVI is critical to the production of BC-ZVI and has not been reported previously. BC-ZVI production was studied by one-step pyrolysis of cellulose, corn stover, dried distillers’ grain, red oak, and switchgrass pretreated with FeCl3. Pyrolysis at 900 °C effectively reduced Fe to ZVI with most feedstocks; however, the association of silicon (Si) and phosphorus (P) with Fe resulted in formation of fayalite and Fe phosphates and phosphides, which limited ZVI production efficiency and/or facilitated corrosion of ZVI. Dispersion of ZVI phases on biochar surfaces and association with Si facilitated oxidation of ZVI due to greater accessibility to oxygen and enhanced corrodibility of ZVI in association with fayalite. Feedstocks low in Si and P such as cellulose and red oak yield BC-ZVI suitable for environmental applications.


Reprinted with permission from ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering 5 (2017): 767, doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.6b02105.

Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2017