A Novel Technology for MTBE Removal from Drinking Water

Period of Performance: 09/15/2004 - 02/28/2006


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Lynntech, Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (Applicant?s abstract): Some 18 billion pounds of MTBE was produced in 1995, making it the second most widely produced organic chemical in the United States. Despite its advantages in reducing air pollution, it has now been found that both ground water surface water sources are being contaminated with MTBE. The most serious contamination to date occurred in ground ware supplies in California, where 20 production wells are closed due to high MTBE contamination. USEPA currently classifies MTBE as a possible carcinogen in its largest directive this year and has decided to phase out the use of MTBE in gasoline. In the coming years, this nation faces a formidable task of ensuring that our drinking water supplies are free of MTBE. MTBE is not readily amenable to treatment by conventional techniques. It is high solubility in water (50g/L) limits adsorption on to activated carbon. Other oxidative techniques produce bromate ions far exceeding the allowed maximum concentration level (MCL) of 10mg/L in drinking water. Hence, efficient non-oxidative alternatives to remove MTBE from water are highly desirable and are urgently needed. The aim of this proposal is to develop a cartridge filter using a remarkably effective separation technology developed at Lynntech. Based upon the Phase I results, this technology would lead to the development of a cartridge that could supply MTBE safe drinking water for more than six months to household of four. Projected sale price of such a cartridge is about $25.00. During the Phase II, practical issues related to long-term stability, regenerability and reusability of the absorbent, large scale manufacturing, and production will be addressed. Phase II will also include designing and assembling prototype cartridges for further evaluation and demonstration to potential industrial partners.