Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 35, pp 34922–34929 | Cite as

Electrochemical mineralization and detoxification of naphthenic acids on boron-doped diamond anodes

  • Nazely DibanEmail author
  • Ane Urtiaga
Advanced oxidation processes for water/wastewater treatment


Electrochemical oxidation (ELOX) with boron-doped diamond (BDD) anodes was successfully applied to degrade a model aqueous solution of a mixture of commercial naphthenic acids (NAs). The model mixture was prepared resembling the NA and salt composition of oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) as described in the literature. The initial concentration of NAs between 70 and 120 mg/L did not influence the electrooxidation kinetics. However, increasing the applied current density from 20 to 100 A/m2 and the initial chloride concentration from 15 to 70 and 150 mg/L accelerated the rate of NA degradation. At higher chloride concentration, the formation of indirect oxidative species could contribute to the faster oxidation of NAs. Complete chemical oxygen demand removal at an initial NA concentration of 120 mg/L, 70 mg/L of chloride and applied 50 A/m2 of current density was achieved, and 85% mineralization, defined as the decrease of the total organic carbon (TOC) content, was attained. Moreover, after 6 h of treatment and independently on the experimental conditions, the formation of more toxic species, i.e. perchlorate and organochlorinated compounds, was not detected. Finally, the use of ELOX with BDD anodes produced a 7 to 11-fold reduction of toxicity (IC50 towards Vibrio fischeri) after 2 h of treatment.


BDD Electrooxidation Naphthenic acids Mineralization Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) Toxicity 



The financial support from the project CTM2016-75509-R (MINECO, Spain) is gratefully acknowledged.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringUniversidad de CantabriaSantanderSpain

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