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Evaluating Different Commercial Forms of Carbon as Cathodes in Air-cathode Assisted Iron Electrocoagulation (ACAIE) of Groundwater for Arsenic Removal


Many people around the world rely on groundwater for drinking and sanitation, however, they are exposed to various health risks from the naturally occurring groundwater arsenic (As). Air-cathode Assisted Iron Electrocoagulation (ACAIE) using Carbon Black Pearls 2000® cathode was previously shown catalyse the removal of groundwater As by producing hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). This work explored Vulcan® XC-72, and Printex® L6 Carbon as alternative cathodes for iron electrocoagulation which are more selective towards the 2-electron oxygen reduction reaction into H2O2 compared to Carbon Black Pearls®. The cathodes were tested in an ACAIE set-up to treat synthetic groundwater spiked with 1,500 μg/L of As at different charge dosage rates (CDR) from 1.56 C/L-min to 100 C/L-min with a total charge dosage of 600 C/L for all set-ups. Although the electrocoagulation energies among the cathodes were similar, the use of Printex® cathode for ACAIE remediated the groundwater for all CDR with final As levels below 10 μg/L. This is in contrast with the less selective Carbon Black Pearls® at low CDR, and the less active Vulcan® Carbon at high CDR where the treated groundwater may still have As levels above 10 μg/L. Future research would explore modifications in the carbon materials and reactor configuration to further optimize ACAIE in removing groundwater As.

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