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Electroprecipitation Mechanism Enabling Silica and Hardness Removal through Aluminum-Based Electrocoagulation

  • Yu-Hsuan Liu
    Yu-Hsuan Liu
    School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, United States
    More by Yu-Hsuan Liu
  • Yousuf Z. Bootwala
    Yousuf Z. Bootwala
    George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, United States
  • Gyoung Gug Jang
    Gyoung Gug Jang
    Manufacturing Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, United States
  • Jong K. Keum
    Jong K. Keum
    Center for Nanophase Materials Science and Neutron Scattering Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, United States
    More by Jong K. Keum
  • Chia Miang Khor
    Chia Miang Khor
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, United States
  • Eric M. V. Hoek
    Eric M. V. Hoek
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, United States
    Lawrence Berkeley National Labarotory, Berkley, California 94709, United States
  • David Jassby*
    David Jassby
    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and California NanoSystems Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90095, United States
    *E-mail: [email protected]. Phone: +1 310-825-1346.
    More by David Jassby
  • Costas Tsouris*
    Costas Tsouris
    Manufacturing Science Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831, United States
    *E-mail: [email protected]. Phone: +1 865-241-3246.
  • Jim Mothersbaugh
    Jim Mothersbaugh
    Water Tectonics, Everett, Washington 98203, United States
  • , and 
  • Marta C. Hatzell*
    Marta C. Hatzell
    George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332, United States
    *E-mail: [email protected]. Phone: +1 404-385-4503.
Cite this: ACS EST Engg. 2022, 2, 7, 1200–1210
Publication Date (Web):February 11, 2022
https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestengg.1c00433
Copyright © 2022 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract

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    We evaluate the effectiveness of an aluminum-based electrocoagulation pretreatment system to remove dissolved silica and hardness. Silica and hardness limit water recovery during membrane-based desalination applications when silica and hardness exceed the solubility limit and generate scale on the membrane surface. We show that simultaneous removal of nearly all silica (95 ± 4%) and a significant amount of hardness (40–60%) occurs with a hydraulic residence time of 2 h and a charge loading between 0 and 1200 C/L. Increasing the residence time maximized the hardness removal (58 ± 8%) via the formation of larger flocs, which allowed for more constituent removal by gravity settling. We highlight the trade-offs between improved energy efficiency at lower charge loadings and an improved removal rate at a higher charge loading. We further compare the percente of silica and hardness removed in multicomponent solutions and compare this to single component feed solution. We discuss the implications that operational considerations have in terms of cost and treatment capacity. Finally, a cost–benefit analysis comparing chemical coagulation with electrocoagulation indicates that electrocoagulation could be half the cost of chemical coagulation and could produce more stable effluent pH and conductivity.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge at https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsestengg.1c00433.

    • Schematic of chemical-coagulation setup; conductivity, turbidity, pH change during EC process, silica and hardness removal efficiencies vs charge loading at 2 mA/cm2 and 15 mA/cm2 under various flow rates; silica and hardness removal efficiencies vs charge loading at 0.5 L/min and 1 L/min under various current densities; total dissolved aluminum concentration vs charge loading at 0.5 L/min and 1 L/min; chromium concentration in the supernatant and total dissolved chromium concentration under different operational conditions; EDS images of anode and cathode; outlook of electrodes and sludge after EC process and turbidity comparison between EC and CC processes (PDF)

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    Cited By

    This article is cited by 3 publications.

    1. Bilal Abada, Sanket Joag, Brent Alspach, Angel Bustamante, Shankararaman Chellam. Inorganic and Organic Silicon Fouling of Nanofiltration Membranes during Pilot-Scale Direct Potable Reuse. ACS ES&T Engineering 2023, 3 (9) , 1413-1423. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsestengg.3c00172
    2. Bai-Hong An, Da-Mao Xu, Rui Geng, Yan Cheng, Rui-Bo Qian, Xian-Chun Tang, Zhi-Qiang Fan, Hong-Bin Chen. The pretreatment effects of various target pollutant in real coal gasification gray water by coupling pulse electrocoagulation with chemical precipitation methods. Chemosphere 2023, 311 , 136898. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2022.136898
    3. G. G. Jang, Y. Zhang, J. K. Keum, Y. Z. Bootwala, M. C. Hatzell, D. Jassby, C. Tsouris. Neutron tomography of porous aluminum electrodes used in electrocoagulation of groundwater. Frontiers in Chemical Engineering 2022, 4 https://doi.org/10.3389/fceng.2022.1046627

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