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Polymeric Resins for the Removal of Toxic Contaminants

Technology Overview

Water has been an inexhaustible resource for too long, until growing pollution outlined the need to protect current supplies. In particular, toxic heavy metal ions introduced into the environment by existing industrial activities accumulate biologically and cannot be easily decomposed, threatening human health throughout the entire food chain. Among the possible removal strategies, adsorption is considered as one of the most feasible, versatile and low-cost methods, relying on the physical and/or chemical interactions between the targeted molecules and the adsorbent substrate. However, water contamination is a complex problem that cannot be solved with a single material. Depending on the characteristics of industrial wastewater, it is necessary to use targeted technologies for the elimination of specific contaminants.

To address this challenge, a new adsorbent material with excellent sequestering properties for arsenic (V), chromium (VI) and boron has been developed using N-methyl-D-glucamine (NMG), a chelating molecule used for environmental purposes for its high efficiency and selectivity versus metal ions species. The technology is based on NMG-based hydrogels, produced by cryo-polymerization in water. The synthesis of ad-hoc functionalized polymeric materials with chelating groups is a sustainable and low-cost strategy to obtain adsorbent materials. It can be regenerated, reused, and adapted to existing water treatment plants.

The company is looking for industrial collaborators to co-develop the technology for industrial wastewater treatments.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

The technology can be applied as an exchange resin for the removal of inorganic pollutants from water. Based on the cryo-polymerization of a polymerizable monomer containing a residue of NMG, macroporous chelating polymers effective in removing toxic contaminants can be obtained. It can remove arsenic (V) from groundwater, chromium (VI) from water deriving from tanning, dyes, textiles, boron from water deriving from microelectronics industries.

Some features of the absorbent material include :

  • Presence of about 98% of active chelating part
  • Peculiar interconnected macroporous architecture obtained by cryo-synthesis for rapid water diffusion and increased ion sequestration
  • Able to customize structure, size and shape
  • Excellent mechanical properties, high porosity, and permeability
  • High affinity for sequestering boron, arsenic (76.3 mg/g), chromium (130.9 mg/g) and other metals ions from the water.

Potential Applications

Suitable for applications in :

  • Domestic filtration systems e.g. taps, filter cartridges
  • Groundwater purification systems
  • Wastewater purification from industrial plants

Customer Benefit

  • Better absorption efficiency of heavy toxic metals and contaminants
    • Absorption capacity of arsenic (76.3 mg/g) and chromium (130.9 mg/g) versus commercially available absorbents (14.7 mg/g and 29.3 mg/g respectively)
  • Directly applicable to purification line
  • Can be regenerated and reusable
Contact Person

Gloria Padmaperuma


Knowledge Share - Netval

Technology Category

  • Chemicals
  • Polymers/Plastic
  • Environment, Clean Air/Water
  • Filter Membrane/Absorption Material, Sanitisation
  • Waste Management & Recycling
  • Materials
  • Polymers

Technology Readiness Level


polymeric resins, heavy metals, water treatment, adsorption, removal of contaminants, arsenic, chromium, boron, hydrogel, chelating, wastewater, filtration, purification, industrial