Feasibility assessment of electrocoagulation towards a new sustainable wastewater treatment
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Background, Aim and Scope
Electrocoagulation (EC) may be a potential answer to environmental problems dealing with water reuse and rational waste management. The aim of this research was to assess the feasibility of EC-process for industrial contaminated effluents from copper production, taking into consideration technical and economical factors. EC-technology claims to offer efficient removal rates for most types of wastewater impurities at low power consumption and without adding any precipitating agents.
Materials and Methods
Real wastewater from Saraka stream with high concentrations of heavy metals was provided by RTB-BOR, a Serbian copper mining and smelting complex. Runs were performed on a 10 1 EC-reactor using aluminum plates as sacrificial electrodes and powered by a 40 A supply unit. Results concerning key factors like pH, conductivity and power consumption were measured in real time. Analysis of dissolved metal concentrations before and after treatment were carried out via ICP-OES and confirmed by an independent test via AAS.
Several aspects were taken into account, including current density, conductivity, interfacial resistivity and reactor settings throughout the runs, in order to analyze all possible factors playing a role in neutralization and metal removal in real industrial wastewater.
Electrode configurations and their effects on energy demand were discussed and exemplified based on fundamentals of colloidal and physical chemistry.
Based on experimental data and since no precipitating agents were applied, the EC-process proved to be not only feasible and environmentally-friendly, but also a cost-effective technology.
Recommendations and Perspectives
The EC-technology provides strategic guidelines for further research and development of sustainable water management processes. However, additional test series concerning continuous operation must be still performed in order to get this concept ready for future large-scale applications.
KeywordsAqueous chemistry electrocoagulation energy demand metals removal sustainability wastewater treatment
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