It is imperative that the solutions we come up with regarding pollution are not causing damage to our environment themselves. It is an absolute honor to have Dr. Adeleye, who is a Bren alum, share his innovative research on how we can implement green chemistry for pollution remediation.
— Timnit Kefela, Bren School PhD Candidate
Pollution remediation involves the use of physical, chemical, or biological methods to remove contaminants or decrease their concentrations to levels that ensure environmental and/or human health. It is however not uncommon for remediation strategies to have some negative impacts on the ecosystem. One of the main goals of our research group is to decrease the environmental impact of pollution remediation by applying the principles of green chemistry. In this seminar, I will use two ongoing projects to demonstrate how green chemistry can increase the sustainability of chemical remediation methods. The first project involves the modification of nanoscale zerovalent iron (nZVI) via sulfidation. The modification decreased nZVI’s reactivity and solubility, which are primary drivers of its toxicity. The pristine and modified particles were used to immobilize arsenic in soil while simultaneously assessing their toxicity to earthworm, Eisenia fetida. In the second project, the sustainability of particulate activated carbon (PAC) synthesis was improved by using shrimp shell as feedstocks. The use of shrimp shell diverts waste from the landfill and resulted in a nitrogen-containing carbon adsorbent with a superior ciprofloxacin removal capacity compared to commercially available PACs.
Adeyemi Adeleye is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Irvine. He earned his MESM (2011) and PhD (2015) at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, University of California, Santa Barbara. In 2016 he was awarded a National Research Council Research Associateship by the National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, which he spent as a postdoctoral researcher at the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Narragansett, RI. His research interests include pollution remediation, environmental nanotechnology, and the environmental fate and effects of emerging contaminants.