Zero-valent iron nanoparticles (nZVI) were successfully entrapped in calcium alginate beads. The potential use of this technique in environmental remediation using nitrate as a model contaminant was investigated. Kinetics of nitrate degradation using bare nZVI (∼35 nm dia) and entrapped nZVI were compared. Calcium alginate beads show promise as the entrapment medium for nZVI for possible use in permeable reactive barriers for groundwater remediation. Based on scanning electron microscopy images it can be inferred that the alginate gel cluster acts as a bridge that binds the nZVI particles together. Kinetic experiments with 100, 60, and 20 mg NO3-N L−1 indicate that 50–73% nitrate-N removal was achieved with entrapped nZVI as compared to 55–73% with bare nZVI over a 2 h period. The controls ran simultaneously show little or no NO3-N removal. Statistical analysis indicates that there was no significant difference between the reaction rates of bare and entrapped nZVI. The authors have shown for the first time that nZVI can be effectively entrapped in Ca-alginate beads and no significant decrease in the reactivity of nZVI toward the model contaminant (nitrate here) was observed after the entrapment.

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