Single Step Extraction and Functionalization of Low-Cost Nanoparticles from Municipal Solid Waste Fly Ash through PICVD

D. Farhanian, W. Raphael, C.A. Dorval-Dion, J.R. Tavares
Polytechnique Montreal, CA

Keywords: nanoparticles, functionalization, nanofluids, ash, PICVD, photochemistry


We propose a method to produce low-cost, low-grade nanoparticles that are appropriate for several applications from a ubiquitous and abundant feed stock: fly ash from municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration. Indeed, by applying a novel process developped at Polytechnique Montreal’s Photochemical Surface Engineering Laboraty (PhotoSEL), we are able to both extract and functionalize the nanoparticles present in this undervalued waste stream. To accomplish this, we treat MSW fly ash in a quartz PICVD (photo-initiated chemical vapor deposition) reactor, operating at ambient conditions (low temperature, near-atmospheric pressure), with syngas (H2 and CO) as a functionalization reagent and 254 nm UVC germicidal lamps for initiation. If the functionalization conditions are set to favor hydrophilic surface conditions, the treated ash can readily be dispersed in a polar solvent such as water; the larger particulates then settle out of suspension, while the lighter nanoparticles remain in the supernatant and are ready for use.