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  • FEATURE ARTICLE
    Chad D. VECITIS, Hyunwoong PARK, Jie CHENG, Brian T. MADER, Michael R. HOFFMANN
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2009, 3(2): 129-151. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-009-0022-7

    Fluorochemicals (FCs) are oxidatively recalcitrant, environmentally persistent, and resistant to most conventional treatment technologies. FCs have unique physiochemical properties derived from fluorine which is the most electronegative element. Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) have been detected globally in the hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Reducing treatment technologies such as reverses osmosis, nano-filtration and activated carbon can? remove ?FCs ?from ?water. ?However,? incineration ?of the concentrated waste is required for complete FC destruction. Recently, a number of alternative technologies for FC decomposition have been reported. The FC degradation technologies span a wide range of chemical processes including direct photolysis, photocatalytic oxidation, photochemical oxidation, photochemical reduction, thermally-induced reduction, and sonochemical pyrolysis. This paper reviews these FC degradation technologies in terms of kinetics, mechanism, energetic cost, and applicability. The optimal PFOS/PFOA treatment method is strongly dependent upon the FC concentration, background organic and metal concentration, and available degradation time.

  • Research articles
    Junxiong LIN , Lan WANG ,
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2009, 3(3): 320-324. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-009-0030-7
    The best-fit equations of linear and non-linear forms of the two widely used kinetic models, namely pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order equations, were compared in this study. The experimental kinetics of methylene blue adsorption on activated carbon was used for this research. Both the correlation coefficient (R2) and the normalized standard deviation Δq(%) were employed as error analysis methods to determine the best-fitting equations. The results show that the non-linear forms of pseudo-first-order and pseudo-second-order models were more suitable than the linear forms for fitting the experimental data. The experimental kinetics may have been distorted by linearization of the linear kinetic equations, and thus, the non-linear forms of kinetic equations should be primarily used to obtain the adsorption parameters. In addition, the Δq(%) method for error analysis may be better to determine the best-fitting model in this case.
  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Xiangyu LI, Lu SU, Yujue WANG, Yanqing YU, Chengwen WANG, Xiaoliang LI, Zhihua WANG
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2012, 6(3): 295-303. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-012-0410-2

    Catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) of Kraft lignins with HZSM-5 zeolite for producing aromatics was investigated using analytical pyrolysis methods. Two Kraft lignins were fast pyrolyzed in the absence and presence of HZSM-5 in a Curie-point pyrolyzer. Without the catalyst, fast pyrolysis of lignin predominantly produced phenols and guaiacols that were derived from the subunits of lignin. However, the presence of HZSM-5 changed the product distribution dramatically. As the SiO2/Al2O3 ratio of HZSM-5 decreased from 200 to 25 and the catalyst-to-lignin ratio increased from 1 to 20, the lignin-derived oxygenates progressively decreased to trace and the aromatics increased substantially. The aromatic yield increased considerably as the pyrolysis temperature increased from 500°C to 650°C, but then decreased with yet further increase of pyrolysis temperature. Under optimal reaction conditions, the aromatic yields were 2.0 wt.% and 5.2 wt.% for the two lignins that had effective hydrogen indexes of 0.08 and 0.35.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Gholamreza GHASEMZADEH,Mahdiye MOMENPOUR,Fakhriye OMIDI,Mohammad R. HOSSEINI,Monireh AHANI,Abolfazl BARZEGARI
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2014, 8(4): 471-482. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0654-0

    Nanotechnology has revolutionized plethora of scientific and technological fields; environmental safety is no exception. One of the most promising and well-developed environmental applications of nanotechnology has been in water remediation and treatment where different nanomaterials can help purify water through different mechanisms including adsorption of heavy metals and other pollutants, removal and inactivation of pathogens and transformation of toxic materials into less toxic compounds. For this purpose, nanomaterials have been produced in different shapes, integrated into various composites and functionalized with active components. Nanomaterials have also been incorporated in nanostructured catalytic membranes which can in turn help enhance water treatment. In this article, we have provided a succinct review of the most common and popular nanomaterials (titania, carbon nanotubes (CNTs), zero-valent iron, dendrimers and silver nanomaterials) which are currently used in environmental remediation and particularly in water purification. The catalytic properties and functionalities of the mentioned materials have also been discussed.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Zhenhe CHEN, Shubo DENG, Haoran WEI, Bin WANG, Jun HUANG, Gang YU
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2013, 7(3): 326-340. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0510-7

    Rapidly increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has drawn more and more attention in recent years, and adsorption has been considered as an effective technology for CO2 capture from the anthropogenic sources. In this paper, the attractive adsorbents including activated carbons and amine-modified materials were mainly reviewed and discussed with particular attention on progress in the adsorbent preparation and CO2 adsorption capacity. Carbon materials can be prepared from different precursors including fossil fuels, biomass and resins using the carbonization-activation or only activation process, and activated carbons prepared by KOH activation with high CO2 adsorbed amount were reviewed in the preparation, adsorption capacity as well as the relationship between the pore characteristics and CO2 adsorption. For the amine-modified materials, the physical impregnation and chemical graft of polyethylenimine (PEI) on the different porous materials were introduced in terms of preparation method and adsorption performance as well as their advantages and disadvantages for CO2 adsorption. In the last section, the issues and prospect of solid adsorbents for CO2 adsorption were summarized, and it is expected that this review will be helpful for the fundamental studies and industrial applications of activated carbons and amine-modified adsorbents for CO2 capture.

  • Research articles
    Xia HUANG, Kang XIAO, Yuexiao SHEN
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2010, 4(3): 245-271. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-010-0240-z
    Since the introduction of the membrane bioreactor (MBR) in China in the early 1990s, remarkable progress has been achieved on the research and application of this technology. China has now become one of the most active fields in the world in this regard. This review outlines the development of MBR-based processes in China and their performance of treating municipal and industrial wastewaters. Since membrane fouling is a critical operational problem with MBR processes, this paper also proposes updated understanding of fouling mechanisms and strategies of fouling control, which are mainly compiled from publications of Chinese researchers. As for the commercial application of MBR in the country, the latest statistics of large-scale MBR plants (>10000 m3·d−1) are provided, and the growth trend of total treatment capacity as well as its driving force is analyzed.
  • FEATURE ARTICLE
    Shuxiao WANG,Lei ZHANG,Long WANG,Qingru WU,Fengyang WANG,Jiming HAO
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2014, 8(5): 631-649. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0673-x

    Mercury, as a global pollutant, has significant impacts on the environment and human health. The current state of atmospheric mercury emissions, pollution and control in China is comprehensively reviewed in this paper. With about 500–800 t of anthropogenic mercury emissions, China contributes 25%–40% to the global mercury emissions. The dominant mercury emission sources in China are coal combustion, non-ferrous metal smelting, cement production and iron and steel production. The mercury emissions from natural sources in China are equivalent to the anthropogenic mercury emissions. The atmospheric mercury concentration in China is about 2–10 times the background level of North Hemisphere. The mercury deposition fluxes in remote areas in China are usually in the range of 10–50 μg∙m-2∙yr-1. To reduce mercury emissions, legislations have been enacted for power plants, non-ferrous metal smelters and waste incinerators. Currently mercury contented in the flue gas is mainly removed through existing air pollution control devices for sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particles. Dedicated mercury control technologies are required in the future to further mitigate the mercury emissions in China.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Haifeng JIA, Hairong YAO, Shaw L. YU
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2013, 7(5): 709-720. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0557-5

    China is at present experiencing a very rapid urbanization process, which has brought a number of adverse impacts upon the water environment. In particular, urban runoff quantity and quality control have emerged as one of the key concerns for municipal officials. One of the strategies being considered is the use of a Low Impact Development type of Best Management Practices (LID BMPs) for urban storm water runoff quantity and quality control. In this paper, the situation surrounding urban runoff control in China is reviewed first. Then the conventional strategy and technologies for the construction and management of urban drainage systems are discussed, while exploring their inherent dilemmas. The LID BMPs are then introduced to control urban runoff in the context of urban sustainable water systems. After the comprehensive analysis of the various LID BMPs, the advances in LID BMPs research and practice for urban runoff control in China are investigated and summarized. At last, the difficulties of implementing LID BMPs in China are discussed, and a direction for the future is proposed.

  • NIE Yongfeng
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2008, 2(1): 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-008-0028-6
    With the lack of space for new landfills, municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration is playing an increasingly important role in municipal solid waste management in China. The literatures on certain aspects of incineration plants in China are reviewed in this paper, including the development and status of the application of MSW incineration technologies, the treatment of leachate from stored MSW, air pollution control technologies, and the status of the fly-ash control method. Energy policy and its promotion of MSW-to-energy conversion are also elucidated.
  • FEATURE ARTICLE
    Kang XIAO, Ying XU, Shuai LIANG, Ting LEI, Jianyu SUN, Xianghua WEN, Hongxun ZHANG, Chunsheng CHEN, Xia HUANG
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2014, 8(6): 805-819. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0756-8

    China has been the forerunner of large-scale membrane bioreactor (MBR) application. Since the first large-scale MBR (≥10 000 m3·d-1) was put into operation in 2006, the engineering implementation of MBR in China has attained tremendous development. This paper outlines the commercial application of MBR since 2006 and provides a variety of engineering statistical data, covering the fields of municipal wastewater, industrial wastewater, and polluted surface water treatment. The total treatment capacity of MBRs reached 1 × 106 m3·d-1 in 2010, and has currently exceeded 4.5 × 106 m3·d-1 with ~75% of which pertaining to municipal wastewater treatment. The anaerobic/anoxic/aerobic-MBR and its derivative processes have been the most popular in the large-scale municipal application, with the process features and typical ranges of parameters also presented in this paper. For the treatment of various types of industrial wastewater, the configurations of the MBR-based processes are delineated with representative engineering cases. In view of the significance of the cost issue, statistics of capital and operating costs are also provided, including cost structure and energy composition. With continuous stimulation from the environmental stress, political propulsion, and market demand in China, the total treatment capacity is expected to reach 7.5 × 106 m3·d-1 by 2015 and a further expansion of the market is foreseeable in the next five years. However, MBR application is facing several challenges, such as the relatively high energy consumption. Judging MBR features and seeking suitable application areas should be of importance for the long-term development of this technology.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Michael Bruce BECK, Rodrigo VILLARROEL WALKER
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2013, 7(5): 626-639. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0548-6

    The role of water security in sustainable development and in the nexus of water, food, energy and climate interactions is examined from the starting point of the definition of water security offered by Grey and Sadoff. Much about the notion of security has to do with the presumption of scarcity in the resources required to meet human needs. The treatment of scarcity in mainstream economics is in turn examined, therefore, in relation to how each of us as individuals reconciles means with ends, a procedure at the core of the idea of sustainable development. According to the Grey-Sadoff definition, attaining water security amounts to achieving basic, single-sector water development as a precursor of more general, self-sustaining, multi-sectoral development. This is consistent with the way in which water is treated as “first among equals”, i.e. privileged, in thinking about what is key in achieving security around the nexus of water, food, energy and climate. Cities, of course, are locations where demands for these multiple resource-energy flows are increasingly being generated. The paper discusses two important facets of security, i.e., diversity of access to resources and services (such as sanitation) and resilience in the behavior of coupled human-built-natural systems. Eight quasi-operational principles, by which to gauge nexus security with respect to city buildings and infrastructure, are developed.

  • Research articles
    Wei WANG, Yuxiang LUO, Wei QIAO,
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2010, 4(1): 102-107. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-010-0001-z
    In China, over 1.43×107 tons of dewatered sewage sludge, with 80% water content, were generated from wastewater treatment plants in 2007. About 60% of the COD removed during the wastewater treatment process becomes concentrated as sludge. Traditional disposal methods used by municipal solid waste treatment facilities, such as landfills, composting, or incineration, are unsuitable for sludge disposal because of its high water content. Disposal of sludge has therefore become a major focus of current environmental protection policies. The present status of sludge treatment and disposal methodology is introduced in this paper. Decreasing the energy consumption of sludge dewatering from 80% to 50% has been a key issue for safe and economic sludge disposal. In an analysis of sludge water distribution, thermal drying and hydrothermal conditioning processes are compared. Although thermal drying could result in an almost dry sludge, the energy consumption needed for this process is extremely high. In comparison, hydrothermal technology could achieve dewatered sewage sludge with a 50%–60% water content, which is suitable for composting, incineration, or landfill. The energy consumption of hydrothermal technology is lower than that required for thermal drying.
  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yue PENG, Junhua LI
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2013, 7(3): 403-411. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0491-6

    Motivated by the recent realization of graphene sensor to detect gas molecules that are harmful to the environment, the ammonia adsorption on graphene or graphene oxide (GO) was investigated using first-principles calculation. The optimal adsorption and orientation of the NH3 molecules on the graphene surfaces were determined, and the adsorption energies (Eb) as well as the Mulliken charge transfers of NH3 were calculated. The Eb for the graphene are small and seem to be independent of the sites and orientations. The surface epoxy or hydroxyl groups can promote the adsorption of NH3 on the GO; the enhancement of the Eb for the hydroxyl groups is greater than that for the epoxy groups on the surface. The charge transfers from the molecule to the surfaces also exhibit the same trend. The Br?nsted acid sites and Lewis acid sites could stably exist on the GO with surface hydroxyl groups and on the basal, respectively.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Lutz AHRENS, Merle PLASSMANN, Zhiyong XIE, Ralf EBINGHAUS
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2009, 3(2): 152-170. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-009-0021-8

    The distribution of polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) in the dissolved and particulate phase and their discharge from the river Elbe into the North Sea were studied. The PFCs quantified included C4-C8 perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs), 6∶2 fluorotelomer sulfonate (6∶2 FTS), C6 and C8 perfluorinated sulfinates (PFSiAs), C4-C12 perfluorinated carboxylic acids (PFCAs), perfluoro-3,7-dimethyl-octanoic acid (3,7m2-PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonamide (FOSA), and n-ethyl perfluroctane sulfonamidoethanol (EtFOSE). PFCs were mostly distributed in the dissolved phase, where perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) dominated with 2.9-12.5 ng/L. In the suspended particulate matter FOSA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) showed the highest concentrations (4.0 ng/L and 2.3 ng/L, respectively). The total flux of ∑PFCs from the river Elbe was estimated to be 802 kg/year for the dissolved phase and 152 kg/year for the particulate phase. This indicates that the river Elbe acts as a source of PFCs into the North Sea. However, the concentrations of perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS) and perfluorobutanoic acid (PFBA) in the North Sea were higher than that in the river Elbe, thus an alternative source must exist for these compounds.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Zeinab JAMALZADEH, Mohammad HAGHIGHI, Nazli ASGARI
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2013, 7(3): 365-381. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-013-0520-5

    In this work, xylene removal from waste gas streams was investigated via catalytic oxidation over Pd/carbon-zeolite and Pd/carbon-CeO2 nanocatalysts. Activated carbon was obtained from pine cone chemically activated using ZnCl2 and modified by H3PO4. Natural zeolite of clinoptilolite was modified by acid treatment with HCl, while nano-ceria was synthesized via redox method. Mixed supports of carbon-zeolite and carbon-ceria were prepared and palladium was dispersed over them via impregnation method. The prepared samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area (BET), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and thermogravimetric (TG) techniques. Characterization of nanocatalysts revealed a good morphology with an average particle size in a nano range, and confirmed the formation of nano-ceria with an average crystallite size below 60 nm. BET analysis indicated a considerable surface area for catalysts (~1000 m2·g-1). FTIR patterns demonstrated that the surface groups of synthesized catalysts are in good agreement with the patterns of materials applied in catalyst synthesis. The performance of catalysts was assessed in a low-pressure catalytic oxidation pilot in the temperature range of 100°C–250°C. According to the reaction data, the synthesized catalysts have been shown to be so advantageous in the removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), representing high catalytic performance of 98% for the abatement of xylene at 250°C. Furthermore, a reaction network is proposed for catalytic oxidation of xylene over nanocatalysts.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Aijie WANG, Haoyi CHENG, Nanqi REN, Dan CUI, Na LIN, Weimin WU
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2012, 6(4): 569-574. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-011-0335-1

    A sediment microbial fuel cell (SMFC) with three dimensional floating biocathode (FBC) was developed for the electricity generation and biodegradation of sediment organic matter in order to avoid negative effect of dissolved oxygen (DO) depletion in aqueous environments on cathode performance and search cost-effective cathode materials. The biocathode was made from graphite granules with microbial attachment to replace platinum (Pt)-coated carbon paper cathode in a laboratory-scale SMFC (3 L in volume) filled with river sediment (organic content 49±4 g·kg-1 dry weight). After start-up of 10 days, the maximum power density of 1.00W·m-3 (based on anode volume) was achieved. The biocathode was better than carbon paper cathode catalyzed by Pt. The attached biofilm on cathode enhanced power generation significantly. The FBC enhanced SMFC performance further in the presence aeration. The SMFC was continuously operated for an over 120-day period. Power generation peaked within 24 days, declined gradually and stabilized at a level of 1/6 peak power output. At the end, the sediment organic matter content near the anode was removed by 29% and the total electricity generated was equal to 0.251 g of chemical oxygen demand (COD) removed.

  • FEATURE ARTICLE
    Xiaomao WANG,Yuqin MAO,Shun TANG,Hongwei YANG,Yuefeng F. XIE
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2015, 9(1): 3-15. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0734-1

    Disinfection by-products (DBPs) are regulated in drinking water in a number of countries. This critical review focuses on the issues associated with DBP regulatory compliance, including methods for DBP analysis, occurrence levels, the regulation comparison among various countries, DBP compliance strategies, and emerging DBPs. The regulation comparison between China and the United States (US) indicated that the DBP regulations in China are more stringent based on the number of regulated compounds and maximum levels. The comparison assessment using the Information Collection Rule (ICR) database indicated that the compliance rate of 500 large US water plants under the China regulations is much lower than that under the US regulations (e.g. 62.2% versus 89.6% for total trihalomethanes). Precursor removal and alternative disinfectants are common practices for DBP regulatory compliance. DBP removal after formation, including air stripping for trihalomethane removal and biodegradation for haloacetic acid removal, have gained more acceptance in DBP control. Formation of emerging DBPs, including iodinated DBPs and nitrogenous DBPs, is one of unintended consequences of precursor removal and alternative disinfection. At much lower levels than carbonaceous DBPs, however, emerging DBPs have posed higher health risks.

  • Research articles
    Ming GE , Changsheng GUO , Xingwang ZHU , Lili MA , Wei HU , Yuqiu WANG , Zhenan HAN ,
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2009, 3(3): 271-280. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-009-0035-2
    ZnO/TiO2 composites were synthesized by using the solvothermal method and ultrasonic precipitation followed by heat treatment in order to investigate their photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange (MO) in aqueous suspension under UV irradiation. The composition and surface structure of the catalyst were characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), field emission scanning electron microscope (FE-SEM), and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The degradation efficiencies of MO at various pH values were obtained. The highest degradation efficiencies were obtained before 30min and after 60min at pH 11.0 and pH 2.0, respectively. A sample analysis was conducted using liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization ion-trap mass spectrometry. Six intermediates were found during the photocatalytic degradation process of quinonoid MO. The degradation pathway of quinonoid MO was also proposed.
  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Bing ZHANG, Jun BI, Beibei LIU
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2009, 3(2): 210-220. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-009-0014-7

    Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in sustainable development not only for their significant contribution to China’s economy, but also for their big share of total discharged pollutants. Therefore, this research takes the enterprises in Suzhou Industrial Park, China as the case study to investigate the environmental management practices of SMEs, and identify drivers and barriers to engaging businesses in environmental management initiatives. It is shown that, as in other countries, SMEs are less active in adopting environmental management initiatives than larger companies. Legislation remains the key driver to engage SMEs in environmental management initiatives. Based on the analysis, policy recommendations are also presented.

  • HAO Jiming, HE Kebin, DUAN Lei, LI Junhua, WANG Litao
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2007, 1(2): 129-142. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-007-0024-2
    The rapid growth of China s economy has led to severe air pollution characterized by acid rain, severe pollution in cities, and regional air pollution. High concentrations are found for various pollutants such as sulfur dioxides (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and fine particulates. Great efforts have thus been undertaken for the control of air pollution in the country. This paper discusses the development and application of appropriate technologies for reducing the major pollutants produced by coal and vehicles, and investigates air quality modeling as an important support for policy-making.
  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Shiliang WANG,Hui WANG
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2015, 9(4): 565-574. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-015-0801-2

    Antibiotics are used widely in human and veterinary medicine, and are ubiquitous in environment matrices worldwide. Due to their consumption, excretion, and persistence, antibiotics are disseminated mostly via direct and indirect emissions such as excrements, sewage irrigation, and sludge compost and enter the soil and impact negatively the natural ecosystem of soil. Most antibiotics are amphiphilic or amphoteric and ionize. A non-polar core combined with polar functional moieties makes up numerous antibiotic molecules. Because of various molecule structures, physicochemical properties vary widely among antibiotic compounds. Sorption is an important process for the environment behaviors and fate of antibiotics in soil environment. The adsorption process has decisive role for the environmental behaviors and the ultimate fates of antibiotics in soil. Multiply physicochemical properties of antibiotics induce the large variations of their adsorption behaviors. In addition, factors of soil environment such as the pH, ionic strength, metal ions, and organic matter content also strongly impact the adsorption processes of antibiotics. Review about adsorption of antibiotics on soil can provide a fresh insight into understanding the antibiotic-soil interactions. Therefore, literatures about the adsorption mechanisms of antibiotics in soil environment and the effects of environment factors on adsorption behaviors of antibiotics in soil are reviewed and discussed systematically in this review.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Haifeng Jia, Zheng Wang, Xiaoyue Zhen, Mike Clar, Shaw L. Yu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2017, 11(4): 18. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-017-0984-9

    Barriers and challenges of Sponge City construction were presented.

    Several key technical points on Sponge City implementation were discussed.

    Recommendations on Sponge City implementation strategy are proposed.

    Since 2014, China has been implementing the Sponge City Construction initiative, which represents an enormous and unprecedented effort by any government in the world for achieving urban sustainability. According to preliminary estimates, the total investment on the Sponge City Plan is roughly 100 to 150 million Yuan (RMB) ($15 to $22.5 million) average per square kilometer or 10 Trillion Yuan (RMB) ($1.5 Trillion) for the 657 cities nationwide. The Sponge City Plan (SCP) calls for the use of natural processes such as soil and vegetation as part of the urban runoff control strategy, which is similar to that of low impact development (LID) and green infrastructure (GI) practices being promoted in many parts of the world. The SCP includes as its goals not only effective urban flood control, but also rainwater harvest, water quality improvement and ecological restoration. So far, the SCP implementation has encountered some barriers and challenges due to many factors. The present paper presents a review of those barriers and challenges, offers discussions and recommendations on several technical aspects such as control goals and objectives; planning/design and construction of LID/GI practices; performance evaluation. Several key recommendations are proposed on Sponge City implementation strategy, Site-specific regulatory framework and technical guidance, Product innovation and certification, LID/GI Project financing, LID/GI professional training and certification, public outreach and education. It is expected that the successful implementation of the SCP not only will bring about a sustainable, eco-friendly urbanization process in China, but also contribute enormously to the LID/GI research and development with the vast amount of relevant data and experiences generated from the Sponge City construction projects.

  • HU Hongying, HONG Yu
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2008, 2(4): 421-438. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-008-0070-4
    Algal-bloom control is an important issue for water environment protection as it induces several negative impacts on the lives of aquatic organisms, aquaculture, landscaping, and human health. The development of an environment-friendly, cost-effective, and convenient alternative for controlling algal bloom has gained much concern. Using the allelopathy of aquatic macrophytes as a novel and safe method for algal-bloom control is a promising alternative. This paper reviews the development and potential application about allelopathy of aquatic plants on algae, including the allelopathic research history, the potential research problems, the research methodology, and the reported aquatic macrophytes and their inhibitory allelochemicals. Potential modes of inhibition action of allelochemicals on algae, possible ways for application, and future development directions of research on algal-bloom control by aquatic macrophytes were also presented.
  • SHORT COMMUNICATION
    Xianlai ZENG,Jinhui LI
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2014, 8(5): 792-796. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-014-0705-6

    The amount of spent rechargeable lithium batteries (RLBs) is growing rapidly owing to wide application of these batteries in portable electronic devices and electric vehicles, which obliges that spent RLBs should be handled properly. Identification of spent RLBs can supply fundamental information for spent RLBs recycling. This study aimed to determine the differences of physical components and chemical compositions among various spent RLBs. All the samplings of RLBs were rigorously dismantled and measured by an inductive coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer. The results indicate that the average of total weight of the separator, the anode and the cathode accounted for over 60% of all the RLBs. The weight ratio of valuable metals ranged from 26% to 76%, and approximately 20% of total weight was Cu and Al. Moreover, no significant differences were found among different manufacturers, applications, and electrolyte types. And regarding portable electronic devices, there is also no significant difference in the Co-Li concentration ratios in the leaching liquid of RLBs.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Xiaohong GUAN, Di HE, Jun MA, Guanghao CHEN
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2010, 4(4): 405-413. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-010-0252-8

    As a green oxidant, permanganate has received considerable attention for the removal of micropollutants in drinking water treatment. To provide a better understanding of the oxidation of organic micropollutants with permanganate, the oxidation kinetics of 32 micropollutants were compiled. The pollutants include algal toxins, endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and pharmaceuticals. The oxidation kinetics of micropollutants by permanganate were found to be first order with respect to both contaminant and permanganate concentrations from which second-order rate constants (k″) were obtained. Permanganate oxidized the heterocyclic aromatics with vinyl moiety (i.e., microcystins, carbamazepine, and dichlorvos) by the addition of double bonds. For the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with alkyl groups, permanganate attacked the benzylic C-H through abstraction of hydrogen. The mechanism for the oxidation of phenolic EDCs by permanganate was a single electron transfer and aromatic ring cleavage. The presence of background matrices could enhance the oxidation of some phenolic EDCs by permanganate, including phenol, chlorinated phenols, bisphenol A, and trichlosan. The toxicity of dichlorvos solution increased after permanganate oxidation, and the estrogenic activity of bisphnol A/estrone increased significantly at the beginning of permanganate oxidation. Therefore, the toxicity of degradation products or intermediates should be determined in the permanganate oxidation processes to better evaluate the applicability of permanganate. The influence of background ions on the permanganate oxidation process is far from clear and should be elucidated in the future studies to better predict the performance of permanganate oxidation of micropollutants. Moreover, methods should be employed to catalyze the permanganate oxidation process to achieve better removal of micropollutants.

  • HE Weiqi, LIU Xuehua, CHEN Jining, CHEN Shan
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2008, 2(2): 163-171. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-008-0027-7
    This study focused on the water quality of the Guanting Reservoir, a possible auxiliary drinking water source for Beijing. Through a remote sensing (RS) approach and using Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) data, water quality retrieval models were established and analyzed for eight common water quality variables, including algae content, turbidity, and concentrations of chemical oxygen demand, total nitrogen, ammonia nitrogen, nitrate nitrogen, total phosphorus, and dissolved phosphorus. The results show that there exists a statistically significant correlation between each water quality variable and remote sensing data in a slightly-polluted inland water body with fairly weak spectral radiation. With an appropriate method of sampling pixel digital numbers and multiple regression algorithms, retrieval of the algae content, turbidity, and nitrate nitrogen concentration was achieved within 10% mean relative error, concentrations of total nitrogen and dissolved phosphorus within 20%, and concentrations of ammonia nitrogen and total phosphorus within 30%. On the other hand, no effective retrieval method for chemical oxygen demand was found. These accuracies were acceptable for the practical application of routine monitoring and early warning on water quality safety with the support of precise traditional monitoring. The results show that performing the most traditional routine monitoring of water quality by RS in relatively clean inland water bodies is possible and effective.
  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yan MA, Naiyun GAO, Wenhai CHU, Cong LI
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2013, 7(2): 158-165. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-012-0479-7

    In this study, the adsorption performance of powdered activated carbon (PAC) on phenol was investigated in aqueous solutions. Batch adsorption studies were performed to evaluate the effects of various experimental parameters like PAC type, PAC dose, initial solution pH, temperature and pre-oxidation on the adsorption of phenol by PAC and establish the adsorption kinetics, thermodynamics and isothermal models. The results indicated that PAC adsorption is an effective method to remove phenol from water, and the effects of all the five factors on adsorption of phenol were significant. The adsorption rate of phenol by PAC was rapid, and more than 80% phenol could be absorbed by PAC within the initial 10 min. The adsorption process can be well described by pseudo-second-order adsorption kinetic model with rate constant amounted to 0.0313, 0.0305 and 0.0241 mg·μg -1·min -1 with coal, coconut shell and bamboo charcoal. The equilibrium data of phenol absorbed onto PAC were analyzed by Langmuir, Freundlich and Tempkin adsorption isotherms and Freundlich adsorption isotherm model gave the best correlation with the experimental data. Thermodynamic parameters such as the standard Gibbs free energy (?Go), enthalpy (?Ho) and entropy (?So) obtained in this study indicated that the adsorption of phenol by PAC is spontaneous, exothermic and entropy decreasing.

  • FEATURE ARTICLE
    Mengmeng Wang, Quanyin Tan, Joseph F. Chiang, Jinhui Li
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2017, 11(5): 1. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-017-0963-1

    Distribution characteristics of various RPMs in urban mines are summarized.

    Conventional and emerging RPM recycling technologies are reviewed systematically.

    Advantages and shortcomings of various technologies are discussed and highlighted.

    Urban mining is essential for continued natural resource extraction. The recovery of rare and precious metals (RPMs) from urban mines has attracted increasing attention from both academic and industrial sectors, because of the broad application and high price of RPMs, and their low content in natural ores. This study summarizes the distribution characteristics of various RPMs in urban mines, and the advantages and shortcomings of various technologies for RPM recovery from urban mines, including both conventional (pyrometallurgical, hydrometallurgical, and biometallurgical processing), and emerging (electrochemical, supercritical fluid, mechanochemical, and ionic liquids processing) technologies. Mechanical/physical technologies are commonly employed to separate RPMs from nonmetallic components in a pre-treatment process. A pyrometallurgical process is often used for RPM recovery, although the expensive equipment required has limited its use in small and medium-sized enterprises. Hydrometallurgical processing is effective and easy to operate, with high selectivity of target metals and high recovery efficiency of RPMs, compared to pyrometallurgy. Biometallurgy, though, has shown the most promise for leaching RPMs from urban mines, because of its low cost and environmental friendliness. Newly developed technologies—electrochemical, supercritical fluid, ionic liquid, and mechanochemical—have offered new choices and achieved some success in laboratory experiments, especially as efficient and environmentally friendly methods of recycling RPMs. With continuing advances in science and technology, more technologies will no doubt be developed in this field, and be able to contribute to the sustainability of RPM mining.

  • REVIEW ARTICLE
    Junhua LI,Yue PENG,Huazhen CHANG,Xiang LI,John C. CRITTENDEN,Jiming HAO
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2016, 10(3): 413-427. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-016-0832-3

    Selective catalytic reduction (SCR) of NOx with NH3 is an effective technique to remove NOx from stationary sources, such as coal-fired power plant and industrial boilers. Some of elements in the fly ash deactivate the catalyst due to strong chemisorptions on the active sites. The poisons may act by simply blocking active sites or alter the adsorption behaviors of reactants and products by an electronic interaction. This review is mainly focused on the chemical poisoning on V2O5-based catalysts, environmental-benign catalysts and low temperature catalysts. Several common poisons including alkali/alkaline earth metals, SO2 and heavy metals etc. are referred and their poisoning mechanisms on catalysts are discussed. The regeneration methods of poisoned catalysts and the development of poison-resistance catalysts are also compared and analyzed. Finally, future research directions in developing poisoning resistance catalysts and facile efficient regeneration methods for SCR catalysts are proposed.

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE
    Yuchi LEE, Shanglien LO, Jeff KUO, Chinghong HSIEH
    Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering, 2012, 6(1): 17-25. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11783-011-0371-x

    Microwave-hydrothermal treatment of persistent and bioaccumulative perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in water with persulfate (S2O82-) has been found effective. However, applications of this process to effectively remediate PFOA pollution require a better understanding on free-radical scavenging reactions that also take place. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of pH (pH= 2.5, 6.6, 8.8, and 10.5), chloride concentrations (0.01–0.15 mol·L-1), and temperature (60°C, 90°C, and 130°C) on persulfate oxidation of PFOA under microwave irradiation. Maximum PFOA degradation occurred at pH 2.5, while little or no degradation at pH 10.5. Lowering system pH resulted in an increase in PFOA degradation rate. Both high pH and chloride concentrations would result in more scavenging of sulfate free radicals and slow down PFOA degradation. When chloride concentrations were less than 0.04 mol·L-1 at 90°C and 0.06 mol·L-1 at 60°C, presence of chloride ions had insignificant impacts on PFOA degradation. However, beyond these concentration levels, PFOA degradation rates reduced significantly with an increase in chloride concentrations, especially under the higher temperature.