Groundwater remediation through the catalytic breakdown of the undesired contaminants is a more effective and desirable approach than the conventional physical displacement methods of air-stripping and carbon adsorption. Palladium (Pd) catalysts are known to catalyze the hydrodechlorination of trichloroethene in water, at room temperature, and in the presence of hydrogen. We recently discovered that palladium-on-gold nanoparticles (Pd/Au NPs) can be two orders of magnitude more active than Pd supported on alumina on a per-Pd gram basis. In this talk, I will describe our work in improving the feasibility of these NP catalysts for groundwater remediation and in understanding how the gold enhances the Pd catalytic activity so dramatically.
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