Our Research Microparticle systems for the removal of organic micropollutants

Left side depicts dirty, brown water coming form sink faucet and right side is cartoon depiction of microscope looking at organic micropollutants

Photo Credit: iStock Images, Doyle research team

Principal Investigator


Can we remove micropollutants from water using a continuous process with components which are easily regenerated?

Research Strategy

  • Develop a microparticle-based platform to remove a broad class of organic micropollutants from waste water
  • Demonstrate regeneration of the particles at mild conditions
  • Develop a fluidized bed device for water treatment

Project description

Removing organic contaminants from water is a key environmental challenge. Wastewater from industrial and agricultural processes often contains solvents, petrochemicals, lubricants, pharmaceuticals, hormones, and pesticides, which all can enter natural water systems. While these micropollutants may be present at low concentrations, they can still have a significant negative impact on aquatic ecosystems as well as human health. The challenge is in detecting and removing these micropollutants, because of the low concentrations in which they occur.

This seed project is developing a system to remove a variety of micropollutants, at even the smallest concentrations, using a special hydrogel particle that can be “tuned” to remove selective contaminants. In addition to being highly selective, it is also a cleaner and more efficient filtration solution, as these hydrogels do not require the harsh conditions and cleaning chemicals that many existing filtration systems require. Leveraging the flexibility of these particles, this technology can improve the speed, precision, efficiency, and environmental sustainability of industrial water cleaning systems, and improve the health of the natural water systems upon which humans and our surrounding ecosystems rely.

Additional Details

Impact Areas

  • Water

Research Themes

  • Water Purification & Desalination

Year Funded

  • 2019

Grant Type

  • Seed Grant


  • Ongoing