Impact of electrochemically generated iron on the performance of an anaerobic wastewater treatment process.

Zhetai Hu, Shihu Hu, Pei-Ying Hong, Xueqin Zhang, Veljko Prodanovic, Kefeng Zhang, Liu Ye, Ana Deletic, Zhiguo Yuan, Min Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Anaerobic treatment of domestic wastewater has the advantages of lower biomass yield, lower energy demand and higher energy recover over the conventional aerobic treatment process. However, the anaerobic process has the inherent issues of excessive phosphate and sulfide in effluent and superfluous H2S and CO2 in biogas. An electrochemical method allowing for in-situ generation of Fe2+ in the anode and hydroxide ion (OH−) and H2 in the cathode was proposed to overcome the challenges simultaneously. The effect of electrochemically generated iron (e‑iron) on the performance of anaerobic wastewater treatment process was explored with four different dosages in this work. The results showed that compared to control, the experimental system displayed an increase of 13.4–28.4 % in COD removal efficiency, 12.0–21.3 % in CH4 production rate, 79.8–98.5 % in dissolved sulfide reduction, 26.0–96.0 % in phosphate removal efficiency, depending on the e‑iron dosage between 40 and 200 mg Fe/L. Dosing of the e‑iron significantly upgraded the quality of produced biogas, showing a much lower CO2 and H2S contents in biogas in experimental reactor than that in control reactor. The results thus demonstrated that e‑iron can significantly improve the performance of anaerobic wastewater treatment process, bringing multiple benefits with the increase of its dosage regarding effluent and biogas quality.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162628
JournalThe Science of the total environment
StatePublished - Mar 7 2023

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2023-03-13
Acknowledgements: This study was supported by the Centre of Excellence for NEOM Research at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Dr. Min Zheng is the recipient of an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship. Mr. Zhetai Hu is supported by the China Scholarship Council (CSC).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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