Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

Liquid Capsules for Removal of Heavy Metals from Water

Posted by Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew UniversityResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Israel

Summary of the technology

Project ID : 15-2014-3066

Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University
Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

Description of the technology

Easily-manufactured liquid core capsules can be regenerated after use


Cleantech & Environment, Water Technologies

Development Stage

Proof of concept, ongoing research, ready for industrial scale-up

Patent Status

Patent application filed in the United States


  • The use of metals and chemicals in process industries results in the generation of large quantities of effluent containing high levels of toxic heavy-metal ions.
  • Conventional treatment technologies for the removal of heavy metals from aqueous solutions are expensive and generate large quantities of toxic chemical sludge.
  • Naturally occurring cross-linked alginate gel capsules may be used to eliminate metal ions from effluent although these capsules have already utilized part of their ability to adsorb heavy metal ions.

Our Innovation

Novel single-step process for producing liquid-core capsules having a new and unique fluid core surrounded by a membrane composed of a different polymer. Capsules efficiently adsorb heavy metal cations and can be regenerated several times after use.

Novel capsule containing liquid core

Key Features

  • Novel capsule contains a unique liquid phase polymeric formulation at its core and a solid or semi-solid hydrocolloid membrane shell.
  • This type of capsule has never previously been produced.
  • Simple, low-cost production process
  • The thin membrane of the liquid-core capsule decreases the diffusion times of the heavy metal cations into the capsule.
  • The hydrocolloidal polymeric shell membrane can be further cross linked to increase its mechanical strength.
  • The capsules are almost perfectly spherical.
  • Capsules with the sorbed heavy metals may be regenerated after use through at least three regeneration cycles.
  • In adsorption experiments, the lead adsorption efficiency of capsules was improved from 267 to 316 mg Pb+2/g dry alginate.
  • The ability of the capsules to adsorb other heavy-metal cations—copper (Cu2+), cadmium (Cd2+) and nickel (Ni2+)—has been demonstrated.

Adsorption efficiency of different metal cations by capsules. Each result is the average of four different batches ±SD. Different superscripted letters indicate significant differences at P<0.05.

Development Milestones

  • Alternative methods for employing the capsules are being tested
  • Similar liquid-core capsules able to absorb anions such as phosphate, chromate, arsenate, sulphate, etc. are being developed.

The Opportunity

Cost-effective and environmentally friendly wastewater treatment

Project manager

Ilya Pittel

Project researchers

Amos Nussinovitch
HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences
Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition

Related keywords

  • Environment
  • Waste Management
  • Clean Production / Green Technologies
  • Pollution and Recycling Related
  • Cleantech & Environment
  • Water technologies

About Yissum - Research Development Company of the Hebrew University

Technology Transfer Office from Israel

Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Ltd. Founded in 1964 to protect and commercialize the Hebrew University’s intellectual property. Ranked among the top technology transfer companies, Yissum has registered over 8,900 patents covering 2,500 inventions; has licensed out 800 technologies and has spun-off 90 companies. Products that are based on Hebrew University technologies and were commercialized by Yissum generate today over $2 Billion in annual sales.

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