Technology International Incorporated 0f Virginia

A Novel Drinking Water Treatment Unit From Agricultural By-Products

Topic: 8.8 Industrial Applications Duration: March 2001-Dec 2001.

USDA Award # 2001-33610-20383l Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREAES)

The Principal Investigator: Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna; Senior Food Scientist

The activated carbons were produced in the laboratories of the USDA-ARS Southern Regional Research Center (SRRC) through special arrangement with TII.

The Cooperative Research & Development Agreement (CRADA) No. 58-3K95-2-908 between TII and the USDA/ARS/SRRC, New Orleans, Louisiana is currently in effect and covers the period from December 15, 2001 through December 14, 2002.

Project team: Dr. Abdo A. Husseiny and Dr. Ramu M. Rao.

Consultant: Wayne E. Marshall, Ph.D.; Research Chemist, Commodity Utilization Research, USDA-ARS, SRRC, P.O. Box 19687; 1100 Robert E. Lee Boulevard, New Orleans, LA 70179.


Mohamed Ahmedna (December 30, 2001). A Novel Drinking Water Treatment Unit from Agricultural By-Products. Technology International Incorporated of Virginia (TII-VA) Phase I Final Report to Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREAES).

Ahmedna M, Marshall Wayne E, Husseiny Abdo A, Rao Ramu M, Goktepe Ipek; 2004. The use of nutshell carbons in drinking water filters for removal of trace metals. Water Research 38(4):1062-1068. URL:

Ahmedna M, Marshall Wayne E, Husseiny Abdo A, Goktepe Ipek, Rao Ramu M; 2004. The use of nutshell carbons in drinking water filters for removal of chlorination by-products. Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology 79(10):1092-1097. URL:;


The purpose of this SBIR research project is the development, testing and feasibility evaluation of Envirofilter, a versatile point-of-use (POU) filter for home water treatment manufactured from granular activated carbons (GACs). The GACs are produced from select agricultural by-products subjected to special a combination of physical, chemical and thermal treatments to create an adsorption matrix with maximum affinity for both organic and inorganic compounds found in drinking water.

Eight prototype filters using 100% agricultural by-product-based carbons (Envirofilter) were constructed and tested. These included filters made of individual and binary mixtures of acid and steam activated nutshells (pecan, almond, and English walnut). The outcome of testing the Envirofilter prototypes showed that most Envirofilter prototypes were as efficient as the leading commercial filters in removing select metals (copper, lead and zinc) and organics (chlorination byproducts). The Envirofilter is shown to be highly effective in removal of the largest number of contaminants, being of low cost and high durability, and having sound characteristics such as breakthrough and adsorbent dosage/depth for the broadest spectrum of common drinking water contaminants.

The Envirofilter can provide consumers with an efficient, low cost and reliable capability for purification drinking water while helping to preserve the environment through conversion of agricultural wastes into value added products and replacement of short-lived and costly petroleum-based ion exchange resins currently used in drinking water purification. The commercial viability of the Envirofilter was shown through comparison of the effectiveness of select by-product-based activated carbons and major commercial home water treatment systems in removing select inorganic and organic compounds..

Custom-designed Envirofilter has high commercialization potential in drinking water purification at homes in rural communities and towns. Other potential markets include wastewater and storm water treatment, environmental remediation of polluted water streams, and food purification and recycling (e.g., recycling of frying oils generated by the food and food service industries).