Design of Biomass-Derived Activated Carbons for Adsorption of Uranium from Mine Tailings

Description:

Northwestern New Mexico is home to hundreds of abandoned uranium mines and home to forests that produce an excess of woody biomass residues that present a wildfire hazard. These residues can be used to produce activated carbons, high surface-area materials that can adsorb contaminants out of air and water. The goal of this project is to create activated carbons for adsorbing uranium at very low concentrations (parts per billion) from water. The results from this study will be to select activated carbons for a later study where combustion of activated carbons will be used to concentrate and potentially recover the uranium.

Completion Objectives:

Complete basic laboratory and radioactive materials safety training.
Synthesize chars and activated carbons from forestry residues using slow pyrolysis, hydrothermal carbonization, and activation.
Characterize chars and activated carbons for surface area and surface chemistry.
Assist with development of adsorption test methodology for uranium contaminated water samples.

Faculty Advisor:

Brewer

Required Competencies

Has completed (or is taking second semester of) a class in chemistry; is available to work in time blocks of several hours at a time.

Student Researcher:

TBD


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