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Electro-adsorption of Naturally Occurring Radionuclides (NORM) from wastewater of hydraulic fracturing with functionalized carbon aerogels as electrodes

Project description

Novel electrodes enable removal of toxic radionuclides from fracking wastewater

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a way stimulate the productivity of an oil or gas well by injecting water, sand and/or chemicals to ‘fracture’ underground bedrock. Radiological contamination in the large amount of wastewater from naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) in the underlying rock formations is a concern to stakeholders and the public. Current wastewater treatment methods cannot remediate it. Environmentally friendly electro-adsorption promises minimal water waste, low operating cost and high energy and removal efficiency. With the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the ElectroNORM project will develop electrodes for electro-adsorption based on functionalised carbon aerogel that can remove the highly radiotoxic, NORM from fracking wastewater.


Extraction of unconventional oil and natural gas by horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (HF) is a real alternative to worldwide oil and gas production to guarantee the energy independence as well as the transition from non-renewable to sustainable energy. However, the large amount of wastewater generated, rich in natural toxic pollutants such as heavy metals, naturally occurring radionuclides (NORM), salts, etc.; concerns both stakeholder and public, especially from the radiological point of view. At present, the water treatment methods available are not capable to remediate the radioactive contamination of HF wastewater (WW). Nowadays, electro-adsorption is emerging as a powerful alternative to make more effective and sustainable the removal of pollutants, like heavy metals from WW. The main reason is that electro-adsorption has shown excellent advantages like minimal water waste, low operation cost, environmental friendly, high-energy efficiency, high removal efficiency, among others. However, little is known about removal of radionuclides by electro-adsorption, therefore, it is necessary to develop new electrodes increasing the adsorption surface, the pollutant selectivity, the stability, the regeneration as well as decreasing the resistance to ensure the removal of radionuclides. In this context, the aim of ElectroNORM project is to develop novel functionalized carbon aerogel as electrodes for the removal and isolation of highradiotoxic naturally occurring radionuclides from HF-wastewater by electro-adsorption.


Net EU contribution
€ 181 152,96
18071 Granada

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Sur Andalucía Granada
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data