Improved Electrocoagulation Reactor for Rapid Removal of Phosphate from Wastewater

Yushi Tian, Weihua He, Xiuping Zhu, Wulin Yang, Nanqi Ren, Bruce E. Logan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A new three-electrode electrocoagulation reactor was investigated to increase the rate of removal of phosphate from domestic wastewater. Initially, two electrodes (graphite plate and air cathode) were connected with 0.5 V of voltage applied for a short charging time (∼10 s). The direction of the electric field was then reversed, by switching the power supply lead from the anode to the cathode, and connecting the other lead to a sacrificial aluminum mesh anode for removal of phosphate by electrocoagulation. The performance of this process, called a reverse-electric field, air cathode electrocoagulation (REAEC) reactor, was tested using domestic wastewater as a function of charging time and electrocoagulation time. REAEC wastewater treatment removed up to 98% of phosphate in 15 min (inert electrode working time of 10 s, current density of 1 mA/cm2, and 15 min total electrocoagulation time), which was 6% higher than that of the control (no inert electrode). The energy demand varied from 0.05 kWh/m3 for 85% removal in 5 min, to 0.14 kwh/m3 for 98% removal in 15 min. These results indicate that the REAEC can reduce the energy demands and treatment times compared to conventional electrocoagulation processes for phosphate removal from wastewater.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-71
Number of pages5
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 3 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2015-SEED-2450-01
Acknowledgements: This work was supported in part by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP), Award OSR-2015-SEED-2450-01 from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and Environment (Harbin Institute of Technology) (No. 2013DX01), and a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council (CSC).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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