Removal of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) from water by polymer-zeolite composites

Dikla Zadaka-Amir, Ahmed Nasser, Shlomo Nir, Yael G. Mishael*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), a semi volatile organic compound used as a gasoline additive, has been extensively detected in surface and groundwater and therefore became a major issue as an environmental pollutant. The removal of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) from water by high-silica zeolite, high-silica zeolite composites, and by granular activated carbon (GAC) was investigated in suspension and by filtration. The Langmuir model yielded good simulation and prediction of MTBE removal. The removal of MTBE from water was more efficient by composites of polyacrylamide (PAM)-zeolite designed in this study than by untreated zeolite or GAC. Even in the presence of BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethyl-benzene and xylene) MTBE removal was very efficient by the PAM-zeolite composites, in comparison to its removal by the zeolite or GAC, reaching 2.5- and 75-fold higher removal, respectively. Filtration of MTBE solution through columns filled with GAC mixed with a PAM-zeolite composite (5:1 w/w ratio) demonstrated several-fold enhanced removal relative to a control which included only GAC. We suggest that the enhanced removal by the PAM-zeolite composite is attributed to (a) the displacement of water from the zeolite surface upon PAM adsorption, which promotes MTBE adsorption and (b) hydrogen binding between the polymer and MTBE.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)216-222
Number of pages7
JournalMicroporous and Mesoporous Materials
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by grant 472/7 and 3-4351 (Eshkol) from the Ministry of Science Culture and Sport of Israel. We also acknowledge The Hebrew University of Jerusalem for internal funding.


  • BTEX
  • High silica zeolites
  • MTBE
  • Polymer-zeolite composites
  • Water purification


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