Five New Awards to IEH Professor, Paul Tratnyek

09/16/15  Portland, Ore.

Paul Tratnyek, Ph.D., Professor in the Institute of Environmental Health, was awarded five new grants this Fall. Together they total almost $2 million for new research into the environmental fate and effects of chemical contaminant.

NSF CHE-1506744 – Electron Transfer Mediators at Environmental Interfaces. $390,000 - 3 years.

Summary: Many of the most important aspects of environmental chemistry involve oxidation-reduction (redox) processes, and many of those processes are facilitated by sequences of coupled electron transfer reactions—herein referred to as electron transfer systems (ETSs)—where the intermediate species serve as electron transfer mediators (ETMs) or “shuttles” for the process. This project will use electrochemical methods to explore the effects of heterogeneity on environmental processes involving ETMS.

NSF CBET-1508115 – SusChEM: Collaborative Research Granular Activated Carbon Supported Gold Palladium Bimetals Catalysts for Sustainable Water Treatment. PI: Prof. Jun Jiao, Portland State University. $167,870 - 3 years.

Summary: This project will develop granular activated carbon (GAC) supported bimetal catalysts that integrate both physisorption and catalytic decomposition capabilities to achieve sustainable water treatment. It will lead to a novel class of GAC-supported Pd-M bimetal catalysts that provide rapid contaminant degradation without accumulation of problematic byproducts or significant susceptibility to poisoning by common components of natural water. 

SERDP ER-2620 – Emerging Core Concepts for Assesment and Enhancement of Abiotic Natural Attenuation of Groundwater Contaminants. Co-PI: Prof. Rick Johnson, OHSU School of Public Health, and Institute of Environmental Health. $542,948 - 3 years.

Summary: It is now widely recognized that abiotic processes play an important role in the natural attenuation (NA) of groundwater contaminants, and this development has created demand for new and improved methods of measurement and/or enhancement of abiotic NA processes. Building on the analogy between in situ chemical oxidation and reduction, we recently noted that there are three important and fundamental “core” concepts in ISCO that are emerging as key to ISCR. These core concepts involve (i) practical metrics of remediation performance, (ii) enhancement by activation and/or mediation, and (iii) consideration of natural reductant demand. The project will develop these core concepts.

SERDP ER-2621 – Field Assessment of Abiotic Attenuation Rates using Chemical Reactivity Probes and Cryogenic Core Collection. PI: Prof. Rick Johnson, OHSU School of Public Health, and Institute of Environmental Health. $606,570 - 3 years.

Summary: Abiotic attenuation reactions, sustained over periods of decades, are important for restoration of many sites contaminated with chlorinated solvents and other contaminants of concern (CoC).  As a consequence, it is critical to have accurate rate measurements for those reactions.  However, direct measurement of abiotic rates on field samples is difficult because the rates are frequently slow (e.g., half-lives of years) and because well-preserved core samples are required. In this project we will use surrogate chemical reactivity probes (CRPs) as alternatives to direct measurement of CoC attenuation rates. Field samples to be tested will be obtained by cryogenic core collection, an innovative approach in which samples are frozen in situ before recovery to ground surface.

SERDP ER-2619 – Characterization of Enhanced Subsurface Abiotic Reactivity with Electrical Resistivity Tomography/Induced Polarization PI: Jim Szecsody et al. from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. $262,146 - 3 years

Summary: This project will quantify the relationship between the abiotic reactivity of reducing systems and electrical resistivity tomography-induced potential (ERT/IP) to enable accurate long-term prediction of barrier performance and contaminant degradation. The OHSU portion will be focus on the fundamental electrochemical properties of minerals, using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy.