Fe-TAML(R) activators developed at Carnegie Mellon help cleanup paper and wood pulp manufacturing

NEW YORK-- Potent, environmentally friendly catalysts called Fe-TAML activators, developed by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University, can destroy colored pollutants and toxic compounds resulting from paper and wood pulp processing.

The results of extensive field trials conducted by Carnegie Mellon University, Forest Research of New Zealand and the University of Auckland are being presented by Dr. L. James Wright of the University of Auckland on Wed., Sept. 10, in New York City at the 226th annual meeting of the American Chemical Society (paper 177, "Activation of hydrogen peroxide with a TAML catalyst for wastewater remediation in the pulp and paper industry," Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Division).

"Right now, we can use Fe-TAMLs with hydrogen peroxide to clean up the unsightly color from chlorine-based bleaching processes used by mills to make paper and the chlorinated byproducts of those processes, which are considered a potential health hazard," said Terry Collins, the Thomas Lord Professor of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon and the chief researcher on the Fe-TAML project. Collins describes the results of the decolorization as going from 'coffee' to 'lemonade.'

Fe-TAMLs (TAML stands for tetra-amido macrocyclic ligand) are synthetic catalysts made with elements found in nature.

While the current study shows that the Fe-TAML activators are extremely promising in cleanup efforts, their real promise may be in replacing altogether chlorine-based bleaching processes currently in place. If accomplished, this substitution would virtually avert the formation of chlorinated byproducts altogether and greatly reduce or eliminate color production associated with paper processing, according to Collins.

The paper and wood pulp manufacturing process produces approximately 100 million tons of bleached pulp each year for use in the manufacture of a variety of cellulose-based products including white paper. In standard mill paper

Contact: Lauren Ward
Carnegie Mellon University

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