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Tracing the Scientific History of Fe0-Based Environmental Remediation Prior to the Advent of Permeable Reactive Barriers

1
Faculty of Natural Sciences, Hung Vuong University, Nguyen Tat Thanh Street, Viet Tri 35120, Phu Tho, Vietnam
2
Department of Applied Geology, University of Göttingen, Goldschmidtstraße 3, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany
3
School of Earth Science and Engineering, Hohai University, Fo Cheng Xi Road 8, Nanjing 211100, China
4
Biosystems and Environmental Engineering Research Group, Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe, P.O. Box MP167, Mt. Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe
5
Department of Water and Environmental Science and Engineering, Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 447, Arusha, Tanzania
6
Faculty of Science and Technology, Campus of Banekane, Université des Montagnes, P.O. Box 208, Bangangté, Cameroon
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Processes 2020, 8(8), 977; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8080977
Received: 14 July 2020 / Revised: 8 August 2020 / Accepted: 10 August 2020 / Published: 12 August 2020
The technology of using metallic iron (Fe0) for in situ generation of iron oxides for water treatment is a very old one. The Fe0 remediation technology has been re-discovered in the framework of groundwater remediation using permeable reactive barriers (PRBs). Despite its simplicity, the improvement of Fe0 PRBs is fraught with difficulties regarding their operating modes. The literature dealing with Fe0 remediation contains ambiguities regarding its invention and its development. The present paper examines the sequence of contributions prior to the advent of Fe0 PRBs in order to clarify the seemingly complex picture. To achieve this, the current paper addresses the following questions: (i) What were the motivations of various authors in developing their respective innovations over the years?, (ii) what are the ancient achievements which can accelerate progress in knowledge for the development of Fe0 PRBs?, and (iii) was Fe0 really used for the removal of organic species for the first time in the 1970s? A careful examination of ancient works reveals that: (i) The wrong questions were asked during the past three decades, as Fe0 was premised as a reducing agent, (ii) credit for using Fe0 for water treatment belongs to no individual scientist, and (iii) credit for the use of Fe0 in filtration systems for safe drinking water provision belongs to scientists from the 1850s, while credit for the use of Fe0 for the removal of aqueous organic species does not belong to the pioneers of the Fe0 PRB technology. However, it was these pioneers who exploited Fe0 for groundwater remediation, thereby extending its potential. Complementing recent achievements with the chemistry of the Fe0/H2O system would facilitate the design of more sustainable Fe0-remediation systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: corrosion products; dissolved oxygen; permeable reactive barriers; water treatment; zero-valent iron corrosion products; dissolved oxygen; permeable reactive barriers; water treatment; zero-valent iron
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cao, V.; Yang, H.; Ndé-Tchoupé, A.I.; Hu, R.; Gwenzi, W.; Noubactep, C. Tracing the Scientific History of Fe0-Based Environmental Remediation Prior to the Advent of Permeable Reactive Barriers. Processes 2020, 8, 977. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8080977

AMA Style

Cao V, Yang H, Ndé-Tchoupé AI, Hu R, Gwenzi W, Noubactep C. Tracing the Scientific History of Fe0-Based Environmental Remediation Prior to the Advent of Permeable Reactive Barriers. Processes. 2020; 8(8):977. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8080977

Chicago/Turabian Style

Cao, Viet; Yang, Huichen; Ndé-Tchoupé, Arnaud I.; Hu, Rui; Gwenzi, Willis; Noubactep, Chicgoua. 2020. "Tracing the Scientific History of Fe0-Based Environmental Remediation Prior to the Advent of Permeable Reactive Barriers" Processes 8, no. 8: 977. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8080977

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