Virender Sharma, Ph.D., a professor in the Texas A&M School of Public Health, uses a simple, abundant and environmentally friendly element — iron — to clean water. In the txH2O article, Working wonders with ferrate, Sharma explains the process he has been researching for years.
By manipulating the chemical composition of iron, Sharma has produced research that demonstrates ferrate, a type of supercharged iron, can be used as a disinfectant and oxidant to inactivate bacteria and viruses and remove antibiotics, pharmaceuticals, toxic metals and other harmful pollutants from water.
Sharma said the ferrate is “hungry for electrons,” or looking for another chemical to take electrons from. Ferrate oxidizes, or as Sharma described it, is “tricked” into “taking” electrons away from other chemicals, changing them into inactivated forms or different products, which are not harmful to humans or the environment.