Thursday, 02 May 2019 14:32

New paper in STOTEN from GENOCOV and AMWC

Several industrial activities produce wastewater with high sulfate content, which produce several environmental issues. Although bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) have recently been studied for its treatment, the recovery of elemental sulfur with these systems is still in its beginnings. This work proposes a new reactor configuration named BES-EC, consisting of the coupling of a BES with an electrochemical cell (EC), to treat this type of wastewater and recover elemental sulfur. The reactor consisted of four electrodes: an abiotic anode and a biocathode of the BES for the autotrophic sulfate reduction and an anode of an electrochemical cell (EC) for the partial oxidation of sulfide to elemental sulfur (the cathode of the BES and the anode of the EC were placed in the same chamber) with its abiotic cathode. The results showed a high sulfate removal rate (up to 888 mg SO42--S L-1 d-1 at -0.9 V vs. SHE with a specific energy consumption of 9.18 ± 0.80 kWh kg-1 SO42--S). Exceptionally high theoretical elemental sulfur production rates (up to 498 mg S0-S L-1 d-1) were achieved with the EC controlled at a current density of 2.5 A m-2. Electron recoveries around 80% were observed throughout most of the operation of the integrated system. In addition, short experiments were performed at different current densities, observing that at higher current the sulfate removal did not proportionally increase according to the density applied. However, when the BES was controlled at 30 A m-2 and the EC at 7.5 A m-2, the proportion of elemental sulfur produced corresponded to 92.9 ± 1.9% of all sulfate removed.

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