Calcium Carbonate Packed Electrochemical Precipitation Column: New Concept of Phosphate Removal and Recovery

Yang Lei*, Santosh Narsing, Michel Saakes, Renata D. Van Der Weijden, Cees J.N. Buisman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) is a vital micronutrient element for all life forms. Typically, P can be extracted from phosphate rock. Unfortunately, the phosphate rock is a nonrenewable resource with a limited reserve on the earth. High levels of P discharged to water bodies lead to eutrophication. Therefore, P needs to be removed and is preferably recovered as an additional P source. A possible way to achieve this goal is by electrochemically induced phosphate precipitation with coexisting calcium ions. Here, we report a new concept of phosphate removal and recovery, namely a CaCO3 packed electrochemical precipitation column, which achieved improved removal efficiency, shortened hydraulic retention time, and substantially enhanced stability, compared with our previous electrochemical system. The concept is based on the introduction of CaCO3 particles, which facilitates calcium phosphate precipitation by buffering the formed H+ at the anode, releases Ca2+, acts as seeds, and establishes a high pH environment in the bulk solution in addition to that in the vicinity of the cathode. It was found that the applied current, the CaCO3 particle size, and the feed rate affect the removal of phosphate. Under optimized conditions (particle size, <0.5 mm; feed rate, 0.4 L/d; current, 5 mA), in a continuous flow system, the CaCO3 packed electrochemical precipitation column achieved 90 ± 5% removal of phosphate in 40 days and >50% removal over 125 days with little maintenance. The specific energy consumptions of this system lie between 29 and 61 kWh/kg P. The experimental results demonstrate the promising potential of the CaCO3 packed electrochemical precipitation column for P removal and recovery from P-containing streams.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10780
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume53
Issue number18
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019

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