(Closed) NanoCatRed – Novel metallic NANOparticles on NANOstructured supports for oxyanion CATalytic REDuction in water


Several health risks have been associated with the occurrence of inorganic contaminants in water. Neither existing conventional nor advanced water treatment technologies have ticked in both efficiency and environmental criteria. NanoCatRed proposes the development of nanostructured catalysts that can achieve a step-change in the performance of catalysts for hydrogenation of inorganic contaminants in water.

The NanoCatRed project is designed to take advantage of two different concepts in heterogeneous hydrogenation catalysts to achieve a step-change in the efficiency in water purification applications: new methodologies for the fabrication of more active/less costly metallic nanoparticles, and new methodologies for the fabrication of nanostructured supports that can enhance the activity/selective/stability of the active metal phase.

Catalytic hydrogenation is a promising technology for two main reasons: 1) it acts on the removal of oxygen-containing anionic contaminants (oxyanions) such as bromate, nitrate, and perchlorate, which can be harmful to health, from the water; 2) it prevents the generation of secondary waste streams.

The project will focus on the development of nanostructured catalysts, specifically by screening their performance in the reduction of bromate, nitrate, and perchlorate to non-harmful products. The best performing catalysts will be selected for testing in a lab-scale pilot unit, using real waters sourced within the NanoCatRed’s network and the leader beneficiary’s customer portfolio. The pilot testing unit will evaluate the  catalysts’ capability to achieve contamination levels below those in the relevant legislation or recommended by the authorities when used in practical application conditions.

Expected Outcomes

  • Innovative technology based on nanostructures catalysts for removal of oxygen-containing anionic contaminants (oxyanions) from the water without the generation of concentrated secondary waste streams and aiming at the surface and ground water treatment sector;
  • Scientific papers for publication in specialized peer-reviewed and open-access journals, some of which will be co-authored by the company and the research units;
  • Promotional materials to raise awareness of the project and accelerate market uptake of the developed technology.
Start Date – End Date: June 1, 2020 – May 31, 2023
Scientific Area: Nanotechnologies

Nanomaterials, catalytic hydrogenation, water treatment, inorganic contaminants

Lead Beneficiary (PT): Adventech
Universidade do Porto
Laboratório Ibérico Internacional de Nanotecnologia
PIs at UT Austin: Charles J Werth (Cockrell School of Engineering, Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, UT Austin)
Simon M Humphrey (College of Natural Sciences, Department of Chemistry, UT Austin)
Total Eligible Investment (PT): 858 499,56 EUR
Total Eligible Investment (US): 595 034,00 USD
Funding Sources Distribution:  

Papers and Communications

  • G. Santos, A. S. G., Gonçalves, L. P. L., Orge, C. A., Kolen’ko, Y. V., Salonen, L. M., Pereira, M. F. R., & P. Soares, O. S. G. (2023). Efficient liquid-phase hydrogenation of bromate over nanosized Pd catalysts supported on TpBD-Me2 covalent organic framework. In Catalysis Today (Vol. 418, p. 114074). Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cattod.2023.114074
  • Santos, A. S. G. G., Restivo, J., Orge, C. A., Pereira, M. F. R., & Soares, O. S. G. P. (2022). Design of macrostructured bimetallic MWCNT catalysts for multi-phasic hydrogenation in water treatment with pre- and post-coating metal phase impregnation. In Applied Catalysis A: General (Vol. 643, p. 118790). Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcata.2022.118790
  • Santos, A. S. G. G., Restivo, J., Orge, C. A., Pereira, M. F. R., & Soares, O. S. G. P. (2022). Synthesis of monometallic macrostructured catalysts for bromate reduction in a continuous catalytic system. In Environmental Technology (pp. 1–16). Informa UK Limited. https://doi.org/10.1080/09593330.2022.2074319
  • Costa, J. M. C. B. da, Barbosa, J. R. M., Restivo, J., Orge, C. A., Nogueira, A., Castro-Silva, S., Pereira, M. F. R., & Soares, O. S. G. P. (2022). Engineering of Nanostructured Carbon Catalyst Supports for the Continuous Reduction of Bromate in Drinking Water. In C (Vol. 8, Issue 2, p. 21). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/c8020021
  • Barbosa, J. R. M., Sousa, J. P. S., Restivo, J., Pereira, M. F. R., & Soares, O. S. G. P. (2022). Palladium Impregnation on Electrospun Carbon Fibers for Catalytic Reduction of Bromate in Water. In Processes (Vol. 10, Issue 3, p. 458). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr10030458
  • Salonen, L. M., Petrovykh, D. Y., & Kolen’ko, Yu. V. (2021). Sustainable catalysts for water electrolysis: Selected strategies for reduction and replacement of platinum-group metals. In Materials Today Sustainability (Vols. 11–12, p. 100060). Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mtsust.2021.100060
  • Restivo, J., Pinto Soares, O. S. G., Orge, C. A., & Pereira, M. F. R. (2021). Towards the efficient reduction of perchlorate in water using rhenium-noble metal bimetallic catalysts supported on activated carbon. In Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering (Vol. 9, Issue 6, p. 106397). Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jece.2021.106397
  • Santos, A. S. G. G., Restivo, J., Orge, C. A., Pereira, M. F. R., & Soares, O. S. G. P. (2021). Influence of organic matter formed during oxidative processes in the catalytic reduction of nitrate. In Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering (Vol. 9, Issue 4, p. 105545). Elsevier BV. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jece.2021.105545
  • Restivo, J., Gonçalves Pinto Soares, O. S., & Ribeiro Pereira, M. F. (2020). Processing Methods Used in the Fabrication of Macrostructures Containing 1D Carbon Nanomaterials for Catalysis. In Processes (Vol. 8, Issue 11, p. 1329). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8111329
  • Mubeen, S., Hesterberg, A., Yan, C., Werth, C., Kakuturu, S., & Cwiertny, D. (2020). Scalable reactor design for electrocatalytic nitrite and nitrate reduction with minimal mass transport limitations. American Chemical Society. https://doi.org/10.3390/c6040078
  • Santos, A. S. G. G., Restivo, J., Orge, C. A., Pereira, M. F. R., & Soares, O. S. G. P. (2020). Nitrate Catalytic Reduction over Bimetallic Catalysts: Catalyst Optimization. In C (Vol. 6, Issue 4, p. 78). MDPI AG. https://doi.org/10.3390/c6040078


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