Bio-electrochemical reactor using low-cost electrode materials for aqueous contaminant removal

  • Prarunchaya Peungtim
  • Wilawan KhanitchaidechaEmail author
  • Auppatham Nakaruk


The electrochemical technology is an efficient contaminant removal method for wastewater treatment and reclamation. For achieving high removal efficiency, the significant materials with excellent properties and costly were used as electrodes. In this work, low-cost materials of graphite and copper wire were utilized as anode and cathode electrodes in the bio-electrochemical reactor. The chemical reactions at electrodes generated CO2 and H2 gases, which were utilized for biological nitrate (NO3-) removal via hydrogenotrophic denitrification. The double mechanisms of hydrogenotrophic denitrification and heterotrophic denitrification in the bio-electrochemical reactor caused the increasing NO3- and total N removal efficiencies rather than the ordinary bioreactor (without electrodes and electrochemical reactions). However, the increasing applied current of maximal 30 mA could not significantly enhance the bio-electrochemical performance on the contaminant removal. This is because the chemical precipitation (i.e., MgCO3 and CaHPO4) at the copper wire hindered the utilization of generated H2 by microorganisms. In addition, the use of graphite electrode advantaged on avoiding the sudden pH change from denitrification mechanism; the generated CO2 from graphite oxidation played an important role in pH neutralization during operating.


Bio-electrochemical reactor Low cost electrodes Copper wire Graphite Wastewater treatment 



  1. 1.
    Distefano, T., Kelly, S.: Are we in deep water? Water scarcity and its limits to economic growth. Ecol. Econ. 142, 130–147 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Xu, Z., Chen, X., Wu, S.R., Gong, M., Du, Y., Wang, J., Li, Y., Liu, J.: Spatial-temporal assessment of water footprint, water scarcity and crop water productivity in a major crop production region. J. Clean. Prod. 224, 375–383 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Pitakwinai, P., Khanitchaidecha, W., Nakaruk, A.: Spatial and seasonal variation in surface water quality of Nan river, Thailand. NUEJ. 14, 1–10 (2019)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Nunez, J., Yeber, M., Cisternas, N., Thibaut, R., Medina, P., Carrasco, C.: Application of electrocoagulation for the efficient pollutants removal to reuse the treated wastewater in the dyeing process of the textile industry. J. Hazard. Mater. 371, 705–711 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sierra, J.D.M., Oosterkamp, M.J., Wang, W., Spanjers, H., van Lier, J.B.: Comparative performance of upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor and anaerobic membrane bioreactor treating phenolic wastewater: Overcoming high salinity. Chem. Eng. J. 336, 480–490 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    WHO: Guidelines for drinking water quality. 4th edition, incorporating the 1st addendum. (2017).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    US-EPA. (2019). Industrial effluent guidelines.
  8. 8.
    Tang J., Zhang C., Shi X., Sun J., Cunningham J.A.: Municipal wastewater treatment plants coupled with electrochemical, biological and bio-electrochemical technologies: Opportunities and challenge toward energy self-sufficiency. J. Environ.l Manage. 234, 396-403 (2019).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Martinez-Huitle, C.A., Panizza, M.: Electrochemical oxidation of organic pollutants for wastewater treatment. Curr. Opin. Electrochem. 11, 62–71 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Feng, Y., Yang, L., Liu, J., Logan, B.E.: Electrochemical technologies for wastewater treatment and resource reclamation. Environ. Sci. Water Res. Technol. 2, 800–831 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Chen, C., Nurhayati, E., Juang, Y., Huang, C.: Electrochemical decolorization of dye wastewater by surface-activated boron-doped nanocrystalline diamond electrode. J. Environ. Sci. 45, 100–107 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Farinos, R.M., Ruotolo, L.A.M.: Comparison of the electrooxidation performance of three-dimensional RVC/PbO2 and boron-doped diamond electrodes. Electrochim. Acta. 224, 32–39 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    An, S.J., Li, J., Daniel, C., Mohanty, D., Nagpure, S., Wood, D.L.: The state of understanding of the lithium-ion-battery graphite solid electrolyte interphase (SEI) and its relationship to formation cycling. Carbon. 105, 52–76 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Li, Z., Wang, L., Li, Y., Feng, Y., Feng, W.: Carbon-based functional nanomaterials: preparation, properties and applications. Compos. Sci. Technol. 179, 10–40 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Reinhorn, G., Dragan, O.: Determining quality of graphite electrodes for electric arc furnaces by measuring ultrasonic velocity. Ultrasonics. 21, 167–170 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ma, J., Dai, R., Chen, M., Khan, S.J., Wang, Z.: Applications of membrane bioreactors for water reclamation: micropollutant removal, mechanisms and perspectives. Bioresour. Technol. 269, 532–543 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ren, J., Li, J., Li, J., Chen, Z., Cheng, F.: Tracking multiple aromatic compounds in a full-scale coking wastewater reclamation plant: interaction with biological and advanced treatments. Chemosphere. 222, 431–439 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Fellingham L.R.: Environmental remediation and restoration technologies in nuclear decommissioning projects. Nuclear Decommission: Planning, Execution and International Experience, Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy, 416-447, (2012).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Khanitchaidecha, W., Nakaruk, A., Ratananikom, K., Eamrat, R., Kazama, F.: Heterotrophic nitrification and aerobic denitrification using pure-culture bacteria for wastewater treatment. J. Water Reuse Desal. 9, 10–17 (2019)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rice E.W., Baird R.B., Eaton A.D.: Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 23rd edition, American Public Health Association. (2017).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Zhao, Y., Feng, C., Wang, Q., Yang, Y., Zhang, Z., Sugiura, N.: Nitrate removal from groundwater by cooperating heterotrophic with autotrophic denitrification in a biofilm-electrode reactor. J. Hazard. Mater. 192, 1033–1039 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Feleke, Z., Arake, K., Sakakibara, Y., Watanabe, T., Kurado, M.: Selective reduction of nitrate to nitrogen gas in a biofilm-electrode reactor. Water Res. 32, 2728–2734 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Chen, D., Chen, X., Huang, X., He, S., Huang, J., Zhou, W.: Controlling denitrification accompanied with nitrite accumulation at the sediment-water interface. Ecol. Eng. 100, 194–198 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cao, S., Li, B., Du, R., Ren, N., Peng, Y.: Nitrite production in a partial denitrifying upflow sludge bed (USB) reactor equipped with gas automatic circulation (GAC). Water Res. 90, 309–316 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tong, S., Zhang, B., Feng, C., Zhao, Y., Chen, N., Hao, C., Pu, J., Zhao, L.: Characteristics of heterotrophic/biofilm-electrode autotrophic denitrification for nitrate removal from groundwater. Bioresour. Technol. 148, 121–127 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Australian Ceramic Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Prarunchaya Peungtim
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wilawan Khanitchaidecha
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Auppatham Nakaruk
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringNaresuan UniversityPhitsanulokThailand
  2. 2.Centre of Excellence for Innovation and Technology for Water Treatment, Faculty of EngineeringNaresuan UniversityPhitsanulokThailand
  3. 3.Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of EngineeringNaresuan UniversityPhitsanulokThailand

Personalised recommendations