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The Prospect of Electrochemical Technologies Advancing Worldwide Water Treatment

Growing worldwide population, climate change, and decaying water infrastructure have all contributed to a need for a better water treatment and conveyance model. Distributed water treatment is one possible solution, which relies on the local treatment of water from various sources to a degree dependent on its intended use and, finally, distribution to local consumers. This distributed, fit-for-purpose water treatment strategy requires the development of new modular point-of-use and point-of-entry technologies to bring this idea to fruition. Electrochemical technologies have the potential to contribute to this vision, as they have several advantages over established water treatment technologies. Electrochemical technologies have the ability to simultaneously treat multiple classes of contaminants through the in situ production of chemicals at the electrode surfaces with low power and energy demands, thereby allowing the construction of compact, modular water treatment technologies that require little maintenance and can be easily automated or remotely controlled. In addition, these technologies offer the opportunity for energy recovery through production of fuels at the cathode, which can further reduce their energy footprint.

In spite of these advantages, there are several challenges that need to be overcome before widespread adoption of electrochemical water treatment technologies is possible. This Account will focus primarily on destructive electrolytic technologies that allow for removal of water contaminants without the need for residual treatment or management. Most important to the development of destructive electrochemical technologies is a need to fabricate nontoxic, inexpensive, high-surface-area electrodes that have a long operational life and can operate without the production of unwanted toxic byproducts. Overcoming these barriers will decrease the capital costs of water treatment and allow the development of the point-of-use and point-of-entry technologies that are necessary to promote more sustainable water treatment solutions.

However, to accomplish this goal, a reprioritization of research is needed. Current research is primarily focused on investigating individual contaminant transformation pathways and mechanisms. While this research is important for understanding these technologies, additional work is needed in developing inexpensive, high-surface-area, stable electrode materials, minimizing toxic byproduct formation, and determining the life cycle and technoeconomic analyses necessary for commercialization. Better understanding of these critical research areas will allow for strategic deployment of electrochemical water treatment technologies to promote a more sustainable future.

Paper link:https://pubs.acs.org.ccindex.cn/doi/10.1021/acs.accounts.8b00611

发布日期:2019/02/28 发布者: 点击数:打印