Summary of adsorption capacity and adsorption kinetics of uranium and other elements on amidoxime-based adsorbents from time series marine testing at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Report uri icon



  • The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has been conducting marine testing of uranium adsorbent materials for the Fuel Resources Program, Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy (DOE-NE) beginning in FY 2012. The marine testing program is being conducted at PNNL’s Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL), located at Sequim Bay, along the coast of Washington. One of the main efforts of the marine testing program is the determination of adsorption capacity and adsorption kinetics for uranium and selected other elements (e.g. vanadium, iron, copper, nickel, and zinc) for adsorbent materials provided primarily by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), but also includes other Fuel Resources Program participants. This report summarizes the major marine testing results that have been obtained to date using time series sampling for 42 to 56 days using either flow-through column or recirculating flume exposures. The major results are highlighted in this report, and the full data sets are appended as a series of Excel spreadsheet files. Over the four year period (2012-2016) that marine testing of amidoxime-based polymeric adsorbents was conducted at PNNL’s Marine Science Laboratory, there has been a steady progression of improvement in the 56-day adsorbent capacity from 3.30 g U/kg adsorbent for the ORNL 38H adsorbent to the current best performing adsorbent prepared by a collaboration between the University of Tennessee and ORNL to produce the adsorbent SB12-8, which has an adsorption capacity of 6.56 g U/kg adsorbent. This nearly doubling of the adsorption capacity in four years is a significant advancement in amidoxime-based adsorbent technology and a significant achievement for the Uranium from Seawater program. The achievements are evident when compared to the several decades of work conducted by the Japanese scientists beginning in the 1980’s (Kim et al., 2013). The best adsorbent capacity reported by the Japanese scientists was 3.2 g U/kg adsorbent for a 180 day deployment at temperatures between 15 and 25 °C (Kim et al., 2013) The majority of the capacities the Japanese scientists reported were less than 2 g U/kg adsorbent (Kim et al., 2013). Repeated time series measurements of a common formulation of amidoxime-based adsorbent, the ORNL AF series, by both flow-through column (3.91 ± 0.11 g U/kg adsorbent). and recirculating flume exposures (4.03 ± 0.12 g U/kg adsorbent) produced 56-day adsorption capacities that agreed extremely well. This excellent agreement generates confidence that the testing procedures are accurate and reliable, and, moreover, that the technology to produce the adsorbents is highly reliable and reproducible, lending additional confidence of the robustness and homogeneity of the production technology.

publication date

  • 2016


report identifier

  • PNNL-25899