Using electrochemistry to separate different particles in a solution (also known as electrochemical separation) is an energy-efficient strategy for environmental and water remediation: the process of treating contaminated water. But while electrochemistry uses less energy than other similar methods, electrical energy comes mainly from non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels.
Chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has been displayed Hydropower can be partially, and perhaps even exclusively, powered by renewable energy sources. Through a semiconductor, their method combines solar energy into an electrochemical separation process powered by a redox reaction, which manipulates the electrical charge of ions and separates them from a solution such as water.
Using this system, the researchers successfully isolated and removed dilute arsenate, a derivative of arsenic, a major waste component from the steel and mining industries, from wastewater.
This work represents a proof of concept for the applicability of such systems for wastewater treatment and environmental protection.
“Global electrical energy is still mainly derived from non-renewable, fossil-fuel-based sources, which raises questions about the long-term sustainability of electrochemical processes, including separations. Integrating solar energy increases the sustainability of electrochemical separations in general, and its applications for water treatment will also benefit the water sector,” Beckman, a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and a researcher at the Chemical and said lead investigator Xiao Su, assistant professor of biomolecular engineering.
– This press release was originally published on the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology website