We report the development of novel modes of operation for electrochemical disinfection of E. coli in human urine simulant with an aim to minimize the energy required for disinfection. The system employs boron-doped diamond electrodes and will be part of an energy neutral, water and additive free outdoor toilet being developed for use in developing countries. Disinfection had been previously demonstrated with voltage being continuously applied to the electrode until disinfection was achieved. In the present study, a new pulsed mode of operation is investigated. This includes a continuous on mode, where oxidants are generated until disinfection is achieved, a single cycle mode, where oxidants are generated for a fixed time and the water is circulated so allow already generated oxidants to disinfect, and a pulsed mode with different duty cycles, which is like the single cycle mode but with multiple cycles. Disinfection was achieved with pulsed mode operation with a 68% energy reduction compared to the continuous on mode. Energy saving was most likely achieved by lengthening the contact time of the disinfectant with the bacteria and increased generation of non-chlorine disinfecting oxidants.
Reduction in energy for electrochemical disinfection of E. coli in urine simulant