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Nanoremediation: Information for Decision Makers from NanoRem

FAQ: Where has nanoremediation been used?

The use of iron nano-scale particles (NP) in the remediation of contaminated groundwater is an emerging approach.

The first reported field trial to directly inject iron NP into the subsurface to remediate contaminated groundwater was that undertaken at a manufacturing site in Trenton, New Jersey, USA during the summer of 2000. This utilised a modified bi-metallic nanoparticle (BNP), consisting of iron combined with trace amounts of palladium, to address a plume of trichloroethylene (TCE) at a concentration of 445 – 800 mg/l. Approximately 2.5 kg of BNP slurry (approximately 1 g/l by weight) was injected into a trail zone consisting of a 3 m X 4.5 m area over a 6 m saturated aquifer. It should be noted that the particles used during this trial were determined to be generally in the range of 100-200 nm which actually places them outside of the currently accepted size range for nanoparticles.

By the end of 2016 NanoRem identified more than 100 documented projects at pilot or full scale since the first reported application in 2000. The technology has been successfully utilised to remediate contaminants within groundwater in a number of countries with their disparate Environmental Regulatory regimes worldwide namely, Germany, Czech Republic, Italy, Taiwan, Canada and USA, with the majority of these projects being undertaken in the USA.  nZVI was used to treat contaminants such as other halogenated organic compounds (Methylene chloride, 1,2-dichloropropane, 1,2-dichloretheane, Vinyl chloride, TCA, Hexachlorobutadiene), PAHs (Benzo[a]Anthracene), other inorganic compounds (Bis(2-Ethylhexyl)phthalate, perchlorate, Freon, NO3), other organic compounds (PCBs, diesel,  light hydrocarbons), and other metals (Cr, Ni).

.A full list of these projects can be found in NanoRem DL9.2 “Final Exploitation Strategy, Risk Benefit Analysis and Standardisation Status” which can be downloaded from the NanoRem Tool Box  (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/project-deliverables.aspx).  

NanoRem has field tested a range of nanoparticles for nanoremediation, as listed in Table 1, below. Various nanoparticles in tests at six different sites and the outcomes of these pilot site tests are provided in a series of bulletins downloadable from the NanoRem Tool Box (http://www.nanorem.eu/toolbox/bulletin-shelf.aspx#TB1)

Table 1: NanoRem Field tested and commercially available NPs

Particle name

Type of particle

Target   contaminants


Process of contaminant removal



Composite of nZVI and activated carbon

Halogenated organics (contaminant spectrum as for nZVI)

Adsorption + Reduction

ScIDre GmbH, Germany


Mechanically ground nZVI particles

Halogenated hydrocarbons


UVR-FIA GmbH, Germany


Nano scale zero valent iron (nZVI)

Halogenated hydrocarbons and heavy metals


NANO IRON s.r.o., Czech Republic


Air stable powder, nZVI

Halogenated hydrocarbons and heavy metals


NANO IRON s.r.o., Czech Republic


Pristine iron oxides stabilised with HA

Biodegradable (preferably non-halogenated) organics, such as BTEX; heavy metals

Oxidation (catalytic effect on bioremediation) + Adsorption of heavy metals

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany


Further Information

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Taking Nanotechnological Remediation Processes from Lab Scale to End User Applications for the Restoration of a Clean Environment.
This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement No. 309517
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