Skip to main content

Calcareous electrochemical precipitation, a new method to trap nickel in seawater

Abstract

There are few efficient, rapid and cheap methods to remove toxic metals from contaminated waters. Here we hypothesised that cathodic protection, an existing method used to control the corrosion of metallic structures, may trap toxic metals. Indeed, in seawater, the application of a cathodic current on a metallic structure induces the precipitation of limestone (CaCO3) and magnesium dihydroxyde (Mg(OH)2), thus forming a calcareous deposit on the metal surface. We therefore presumed that such calcareous deposit may trap metals dissolved in waters. Actually calcareous deposit formation has never been studied in the presence of dissolved metallic contaminants such as nickel. Here we tested ionic nickel (Ni2+) precipitation in calcareous deposit with a galvanized steel electrode by spiking artificial seawater with a NiCl2 salt during 7 days of applied current. We analysed deposit surface and cross section by µ-Raman spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with X-ray microanalysis. Ni concentration in the deposit was quantified by inductively coupled plasma analysis, after deposit dissolution in 60% HNO3. Results show that in 7 days up to 24% of nickel can be trapped in the calcareous deposit. Scanning electron microscopy reveals that Ni is trapped under a pure CaCO3 layer of aragonite. Raman spectra show that nickel is incorporated as nickel dihydroxyde (Ni(OH)2), as evidence by vibration bands at 446 and 510 cm−1. Overall our findings disclose a new and efficient method, calcareous electrochemical precipitation, which has potential applications to remove toxic metals from contaminated waters.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Akcil A, Erust C, Ozdemiroglu S, Fonti V, Beolchini F (2015) A review of approaches and techniques used in aquatic contaminated sediments: metal removal and stabilization by chemical and biotechnological processes. J Clean Prod 86:24–36

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Barchiche C, Deslouis C, Festy D, Gil O, Refait P, Touzain S, Tribollet B (2003) Characterization of calcareous deposits in artificial seawater by impedance techniques: 3-deposit of CaCO3 in the presence of Mg(II). Electrochim Acta 48(12):1645–1654

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Board M (1997) Contaminated sediments in ports and waterways: cleanup strategies and technologies. National Academies Press, Washington

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bonnet X, Briand MJ, Brischoux F, Letourneur Y, Fauvel T, Bustamante P (2014) Anguilliform fish reveal large scale contamination by mine trace elements in the coral reefs of New Caledonia. Sci Total Environ 470:876–882

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Chateigner D (2013) Combined analysis. Wiley, New York

    Book  Google Scholar 

  6. Gabrielli C, Jaouhari R, Joiret S, Maurin G, Rousseau P (2003) Study of the electrochemical deposition of CaCO3 by in situ Raman spectroscopy I. Influence of the substrate. J Electrochem Soc 150(7):C478–C484

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Gillet P, Biellmann C, Reynard B, McMillan P (1993) Raman spectroscopic studies of carbonates part I: high-pressure and high-temperature behaviour of calcite, magnesite, dolomite and aragonite. Phys Chem Miner 20(1):1–18

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Gunkel-Grillon P, Laporte-Magoni C, Lemestre M, Bazire N (2014) Toxic chromium release from nickel mining sediments in surface waters, New Caledonia. Environ Chem Lett 12:511

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Hong KS, Lee HM, Bae JS, Ha MG, Jin JS, Hong TE, Kim JP, Jeong ED (2011) Removal of heavy metal ions by using calcium carbonate extracted from starfish treated by protease and amylase. J Anal Sci Technol 2(2):75–82

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Kumar KS, Dahms HU, Won EJ, Lee JS, Shin KH (2015) Microalgae—a promising tool for heavy metal remediation. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 113:329–352

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Maleki H (2016) Recent advances in aerogels for environmental remediation applications: a review. Chem Eng J 300:98–118

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Marques CR (2016) Bio-rescue of marine environments: on the track of microbially-based metal/metalloid remediation. Sci Total Environ 565:165–180

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Migon C, Ouillon S, Mari X, Nicolas E (2007) Geochemical and hydrodynamic constraints on the distribution of trace metal concentrations in the lagoon of Nouméa, New Caledonia. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 74(4):756–765

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Nan J, Yang Y, Lin Z (2006) In situ photoelectrochemistry and Raman spectroscopic characterization on the surface oxide film of nickel electrode in 30 wt% KOH solution. Electrochim Acta 51(23):4873–4879

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Salomons W, Stigliani W (eds) (2012) Biogeodynamics of pollutants in soils and sediments: risk assessment of delayed and non-linear responses. Springer Science & Business Media, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  16. Salvago G, Maffi S, Benedetti A, Magagnin L (2004) Coating electroaccretion on galvanized iron and aluminum in seawater. Electrochim Acta 50(1):169–178

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Schweitzer GK, Pesterfield LL (2009) The aqueous chemistry of the elements. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  18. Vasudevan S, Oturan MA (2014) Electrochemistry: as cause and cure in water pollution—an overview. Environ Chem Lett 12(1):97–108

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR-EcoCorail program: MATETPRO project).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Charlotte Carré.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Carré, C., Gunkel-Grillon, P., Serres, A. et al. Calcareous electrochemical precipitation, a new method to trap nickel in seawater. Environ Chem Lett 15, 151–156 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10311-016-0602-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Calcareous deposit
  • Seawater
  • Nickel
  • Contaminant
  • Remediation device