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Issue 5, 2019
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In situ remediation of subsurface contamination: opportunities and challenges for nanotechnology and advanced materials

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Abstract

Complex subsurface contamination domains and limited efficacy of existing treatment approaches pose significant challenges to site remediation and underscore the need for technological innovation to develop cost-effective remedies. Here, we discuss opportunities for nanotechnology-enabled in situ remediation technologies to address soil and groundwater contamination. The discussion covers candidate nanomaterials, applications of nanomaterials to complement existing remediation approaches and address emerging contaminants, as well as the potential barriers for implementation and strategies and research needs to overcome these barriers. Promising nanomaterials in subsurface remediation include multi-functional nanocomposites for synergistic contaminant sequestration and degradation, selective adsorbents and catalysts, nano-tracers for subsurface contaminant delineation, and slow-release reagents enabled by stimuli-responsive nanomaterials. Limitations on mixing and transport of nanomaterials in the subsurface are severe constraints for in situ applications of these materials. Mixing enhancements are needed to overcome transport limitations in laminar flow environments. Reactive nanomaterials may be generated in situ to remediate contamination in low hydraulic conductivity zones. Overall, nano-enabled remediation technologies may improve remediation performance for a broad range of legacy and emerging contaminants. These technologies should continue to be developed and tested to discern theoretical hypotheses from feasible opportunities, and to establish realistic performance expectations for in situ remediation techniques using engineered nanomaterials alone or in combination with other technologies.

Graphical abstract: In situ remediation of subsurface contamination: opportunities and challenges for nanotechnology and advanced materials

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Feb 2019, accepted on 08 Apr 2019 and first published on 11 Apr 2019


Article type: Perspective
DOI: 10.1039/C9EN00143C
Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2019,6, 1283-1302

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    In situ remediation of subsurface contamination: opportunities and challenges for nanotechnology and advanced materials

    T. Zhang, G. V. Lowry, N. L. Capiro, J. Chen, W. Chen, Y. Chen, D. D. Dionysiou, D. W. Elliott, S. Ghoshal, T. Hofmann, H. Hsu-Kim, J. Hughes, C. Jiang, G. Jiang, C. Jing, M. Kavanaugh, Q. Li, S. Liu, J. Ma, B. Pan, T. Phenrat, X. Qu, X. Quan, N. Saleh, P. J. Vikesland, Q. Wang, P. Westerhoff, M. S. Wong, T. Xia, B. Xing, B. Yan, L. Zhang, D. Zhou and P. J. J. Alvarez, Environ. Sci.: Nano, 2019, 6, 1283
    DOI: 10.1039/C9EN00143C

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