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

processing, a dark, coffee-colored effluent is produced, called 'color' in the industry because of its dark hue, which enters streams and rivers. This effluent often contains a dark-colored oxidized form of a polymer derived from lignin, which is a polymer surrounding the cellulose in wood, as well as chlorinated byproducts. The effluent inhibits light from penetrating the water. Reduced light, in turn, can reduce plant growth and affect organisms that depend on those plants for food.

While Fe-TAML activators are not yet optimized to the point where they could replace chlorinated bleaching processes completely, they could be used now by paper and wood pulp mills to significantly reduce color so that brown, opaque wastewater becomes yellow and translucent, according to Collins. The decolorization process also reduces chlorinated byproducts resulting from some wood bleaching processes by nearly 30 percent.

Hydrogen peroxide catalyzed by Fe-TAML activators eventually should provide a much more efficient bleaching process than one using chlorinated compounds, according to Collins, because only small quantities of the Fe-TAML activators and hydrogen peroxide are needed to be highly effective. Furthermore, according to Collins, Fe-TAMLs are likely to be relatively inexpensive catalysts when produced in large amounts.

The field trials on color removal conducted in 2003 were funded by New Zealand resources and by the Eden Hall Foundation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Fe-TAML activators originated at Carnegie Mellon's Institute for Green Oxidation Chemistry under the leadership of Collins, who is a strong proponent of green chemistry to create environmentally friendly, sustainable technologies. Fe-TAML activators show enormous potential to provide clean, safe alternatives to existing industrial practices. They also provide ways to remediate other pressing problems that currently lack solutions.

As part of this September's American Ch
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Contact: Lauren Ward
wardle@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-7761
Carnegie Mellon University
10-Sep-2003


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