Electrochemical disinfection (ECD) has become an important blackwater disinfection technology. ECD is a promising solution for the 2 billion people without access to conventional sanitation practices and in areas deficient in basic utilities (e.g., sewers, electricity, waste treatment). Here, we report on the disinfection of blackwater using potential cycling compared to potentiostatic treatment methods in chloride-containing and chloride-free solutions of blackwater (i.e., untreated wastewater containing feces, urine, and flushwater from a toilet). Potentiodynamic treatment is demonstrated to improve disinfection energy efficiency of blackwater by 24% and 124% compared to static oxidation and reduction methods, respectively. The result is shown to be caused by electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOP) and regeneration of sp2-surface-bonded carbon functional groups that serve the dual purpose of catalysts and adsorption sites of oxidant intermediates. Following 24 h electrolysis in blackwater, electrode fouling is shown to be minimized by the potential cycling method when compared to equivalent potentiostatic methods. The potential cycling current density is 40% higher than both the static oxidative and reductive methods. This work enhances the understanding of oxygen reduction catalysts using functionalized carbon materials and electrochemical disinfection anodes, both of which have the potential to bring a cost-effective, energy efficient, and practical solution to the problem of disinfecting blackwater.
Improved blackwater disinfection using potentiodynamic methods with oxidized boron-doped diamond electrodes
Thostenson, J. O., Mourouvin, R., Hawkins, B. T., Ngaboyamahina, E., Sellgren, K. L., Parker, C. B., Deshusses, M. A., Stoner, B. R., & Glass, J. T. (2018). Improved blackwater disinfection using potentiodynamic methods with oxidized boron-doped diamond electrodes. Water Research, 140, 191-199. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2018.04.022