Silver nanoparticles (Ag-NP) were selectively impregnated on the external surface of plasma treated activated carbon (AC) granules (referred to as Ag-AC hybrid, having 0.8 wt% of Ag), for achieving continuous disinfection of water in a single flow-column set-up. First, Ag-NPs (28 nm mean size) were synthesized by UV reduction. Subsequently, Escherichia coli cell-killing experiments were performed in both shake flask (i. e. batch-mode) and flow-column (i. e. continuous-mode) operations, using E. coli K12 (MTCC 1302) as a model organism. Batch results using 8 mg Ag-AC hybrid/ml of cell suspension showed that, 104 CFU/ml of cells were killed within 25 min contact time, with cell concentration decaying exponentially in time. Maintaining almost the same contact time as in the batch experiments, three columns packed with Ag-AC (all having a height of 25 cm but increasing diameters of 1, 5 and 8 cm, respectively) were used for monitoring cell-killing performance over a long duration. For all columns, inlet water having 104 CFU/ml E. coli could be completely disinfected to produce treated, outlet water having zero cell count. Specifically for the 8 cm diameter column, a maximum throughput of treating 1.62 L of contaminated water per hour could be maintained for at least up to 16 days. Moreover, the Ag concentration in the outlet water was only up to 29.8 μg/L at steady state, which is well within the recommended limit of 100 μg/L for drinking water. Hence, water disinfection for potable quality water (zero E. coli count and <100 μg/L Ag) can be achieved in a continuous manner over a long duration, with our packed Ag-AC column.
Biswas, Pritam, Rajdip Bandyopadhyaya