Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type



Environmental Engineering

Committee Chair

Kumar Ganesan

First Advisor

William Drury

Second Advisor

Butch Gerbrandt


The objective of this thesis research is to evaluate and enhance a recently developed water treatment technology. The technology was previously successful in removing airborne mercury from coal fired power plant flue gas, and has since been demonstrated to remove aqueous copper and cadmium. The technology uses natural coconut fibers impregnated with metal nanoparticles using a proprietary technique. A series of batch tests determined that both the treated and untreated natural fibers were capable of removing over 90% of aqueous zinc from a synthetic solution made by dissolving ZnCl2 salts in deionized water. Further testing with a bench scale continuous flow reactor demonstrated that the treated fibers were capable of removing up to 70% of aqueous zinc with an EBCT of ten minutes. Further testing could prove the technology a viable and cost-effective alternative solution for treating industrial wastewater.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Engineering.