Demonstrating Wastewater Remediation with Solar Technology

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Demonstrating Wastewater Remediation with Solar Technology


Sesha S. Srinivasan, SPS Chapter Advisor, Daniil Ivannikov, SPS Chapter President, and Scott L. Wallen, Research Mentor, Florida Polytechnic University

The engineering physics (EP) degree program at Florida Polytechnic University launched very recently, in 2019, although we’ve had an SPS chapter since 2015. Daniil Ivannikov from Key West, Florida is one of the first EP students and the current chapter president. He has had a passion for researching and developing sustainable technologies from day one. Last year he studied using solar photocatalytic advanced oxidation to treat wastewater.

In his research, Daniil developed a low-cost procedure to synthesize modified photocatalysts that, under solar irradiation, can quickly degrade organic contaminants in wastewater. He did this under the supervision of Drs. Sesha Srinivasan and Scott Wallen. Our SPS chapter then set up an outdoor demonstration of this process with funding from the Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Waste Management.

One fine, sunny day, Daniil and other SPS members from the FL Poly chapter assembled a batch reactor near our campus pond. Using natural sunlight and the modified photocatalysts, we demonstrated remediation of the pond water.

This event was sponsored by the Florida Polytechnics Marketing and Communication Department (University Relations) and the Admissions Department to promote undergraduate research to prospective and current students. We’ll share video of the demonstration with students during the STEM events our SPS chapter hosts for middle and high school students in the local underserved community of Polk County.

By extending this research project to include an outreach aspect, we hope to attract many new students to engineering physics and to increase interest in STEM more generally.

This project was funded by an SPS Award, Hinkley Center for Solid and Hazardous Management, and the Florida Industrial and Phosphate Research Institute.

SPS members and a local middle school student set up a batch reactor near FL Poly’s pond to treat wastewater. In the background is the campus’ state-of-the-art Innovation, Science, and Technology Building, surrounded by pond water.


Students collect FL Poly pond water samples for the sunlight-assisted photocatalytic treatment.

Students work on batch reactor setup and calibration measurements. SPS president Daniil Ivannikov (left) is assisting and training other students. All photos courtesy of Florida Poly - University Relations.

SPS faculty advisor Professor Sesha Srinivasan (right) supports the students in setting up the solar photocatalytic reactor at the FL Poly pond water site.

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