A research effort to turn wood waste into a filter for cleaning water or industrial emissions could make Cape Breton a commercial hub for environmental initiatives.
Dr. Stephanie MacQuarrie, an Assistant Professor of Organic Chemistry at Cape Breton University (CBU) is working with a local company to develop a “green” filter that can absorb toxic material from wastewater or industrial effluent.
As a champion of global sustainable prosperity through the development of sustainable energy options, Dr. MacQuarrie said she is pleased the material to create the green filter can be harvested locally and processed so that it does not result in the air or water problems associated with activated charcoal filters.
“Carbon filters are used widely for purification purposes. They are used for cleaning water, separating out gold in a gold mine and in medicine to remove poisons,” she says. “They have many useful applications.”
But the source for charcoal is coal. Coal is non-renewable, damaging to the environment to mine and in certain situations it can be toxic. Using available green options just makes sense, says Dr. MacQuarrie.
B.W. BioEnergy, the partner firm, hopes to have North American and European patents for the process soon.
The green carbon work and the numerous other projects undertaken by the Centre would not have been possible without Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust (NSRIT) funding used to purchase leading edge equipment, says Dr. MacQuarrie.
In addition to the infrastructure, the NSRIT funding she received also allows her to train students who will become leaders in the emerging environmental field of the future.