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Current publication on predicting the service life of granular ferric hydroxide (GEH) adsorption filters for removing uranium from drinking water and mineral water

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A weakly radioactive heavy metal, uranium is naturally found in the ground and can infiltrate groundwater when rocks weather. Since, even in the smallest of concentrations, uranium poses health concerns, it is vital that it is removed before the groundwater can be used as mineral or drinking water. Our GEH granular adsorbent has been successfully used for this purpose. In practice, the chemical composition of water has a material impact on the level of achievable adsorption capacity and thus the service life of the GEH adsorption filter. In the course of a scientific cooperation project with the Hydrogeochemistry Work Group at the University of Mainz and the Institute of Environmental Technology at Technische Universität Berlin, a model was refined for predicting the service life of granular ferric hydroxide (GEH) filters in the uranium removal process for water. This was then laboratory and pilot tested using the available data.

Using the adapted SCM model, it was possible to factor in both the binary and tertiary surface complexes of uranium, carbonate and calcium. It was possible to demonstrate that the adsorption capacity of granular ferric hydroxide (GEH) on uranium highly depends on the pH level and is decisively influenced by the carbonate concentration in neutral pH levels. The findings will help us to optimise the configuration of the adsorption filters used to treat mineral or drinking water and in predicting how often to replace the spent granular ferric hydroxide (GEH).

The findings have now been published in the international journal “ACS Environmental Science & Technology: Water”, by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Kersten, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Jekel, and our Head of R&D, Dr.-Ing. Carsten Bahr ( The publication titled “Predicting the Breakthrough of Ternary Ca−Uranyl−Carbonate Species in Mineral Water Treated by a Fixed-Bed Granular Ferric Hydroxide Adsorbent” is freely available for a limited time and can be downloaded from the online database of the American Chemical Society ACS:

Further links:
Hydrogeochemistry Work Group:

Institute of Environmental Technology:


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