Selective Reductant Electrowinning via Coal Electrolysis

G.G. Botte
Ohio University - Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research,
United States

Keywords: electrowinning, organic oxidation, metal reduction, coal electrolysis, coal

Summary:

Challenges to current industrial wastewater containing organic materials and metals include low metal concentration in waste, high energy consumption and high carbon footprint. Our proposed solution – Selective Reductant Electrowinning (SRE) – allows for advanced water treatment by simultaneous removal of organics/inorganics (oxidation) and metal ions (reduction) for water remediation and lower energy consumption. This processes is energy efficient by coupling systems with overlapping chemical potentials for reduced energy consumption. This characteristic also makes the technology selective to a variety of metals and provides flexibility waste stream remediation, while capitalizing on a holistic analysis of waste streams in a process. In a demonstrated example, mercury is removed from coal during electrolysis using this technology and serves a method for improved coal combustion through the reduction of ash and metal content. In addition, this technology can be expanded to focus on a variety of electronic waste (e-waste), thus including the semi-conductor and solar industry among others. The proposed concept presents a foundation for solving industry needs in water and advanced electrowinning.