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Removal and Inactivation of Bacterial and Viral Species with an Electrochemical CNT Filter

Presenter: Chad D. Vecitis
CTO and Co-Founder of Nth Cycle
August 26, 2020
Time: 1-2 pm ET

Nanotechnology may have the potential to provide solutions to critical problems regarding energy and the environment. Waterborne pathogens are a primary public health concern in developing countries where billions are without drinking water treatment and/or sanitation. This contributes to the global disease burden and results in millions of deaths per year, primarily among children. Minimal drinking water treatment for public health needs to include multilog viral, bacterial, and protozoa removal and/or inactivation. Therefore, there is a need for developping novel treatment methods for waterborne and airborne pathogens. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) may provide a solution as CNT-based filters are effective for viral/bacterial removal, and CNT have an inherent antimicrobial activity. The conductive nature of CNT would allow for simultaneous separation (filtration) and inactivation (electrochemistry) of pathogens that could synergistically enhance the treatment process. The novel electrochemical CNT filter could be powered by solar (photovoltaic) energy for point-of-use water purification in developing countries.

Here, an electrochemical carbon nanotube (CNT) filter is demonstrated to be effective and efficient for the removal and inactivation of aqueous viruses (MS2) and bacteria (E. coli). The CNT filter in the absence of applied potential is effective for the complete sieving of bacteria and multilog depth filtration of viruses. At applied potentials of 2 and 3 V during filtration, the bacterial (>75%) and viral (>99.5%) inactivation were significantly increased, and the number of bacteria and viruses in the effluent was below the limit of detection. Electrolyte concentration and composition did not correlate to electrochemical inactivation consistent with a direct oxidation mechanism. As a result of the increased electromigration and electrosorption to anodic CNT, the hybrid electrochemical filter enhanced viral depth filtration and inactivation. The concomitant electrochemical filtration also significantly reduced negative NOM (SRFA/alginate) interference and fouling effects during viral filtration. The advantages of the electrochemical CNT filter for pathogen removal and inactivation, and potential for environmental and health applications will be discussed.


Benefits of Attending?

Learn about:

  • Synergism electrochemistry and filtration
  • Electrochemical enhanced viral filtration
  • Electrochemical viral and bacterial inactivation
Vecitis’ background

Chad D. Vecitis is currently the CTO and Co-Founder of Nth Cycle, a company focused on novel metal processing and recycling technologies. He received his BA in Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, U.S., and a PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, U.S. From 2010-2018, Vecitis was a faculty member in Environmental Science & Engineering at the Harvard University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. With students and colleagues, he published over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and is the inventor of several patents. He has discussed his internationally recognized research at many universities, institutions, and symposia.


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