New research shows that electric fields can improve wastewater treatment efficiency

Imaging: Removing wastewater using modified ammonia electricity
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Credit Writing National Korea Maritime and Ocean University

Ammonia is one of the many pollutants in sewage that can be toxic to sea and land life. Thus, in a process called dehumidification, it is removed from the waste water and later used as fertilizer or fuel. Ventilation converts ammonia into gas, which then can release impurities from the water. But this process is not efficient: it is energy-intensive, and requires certain temperatures, air supply, and a lot of chemicals, which makes it expensive.

By addressing these weaknesses in a study published in Water Research (Available online on August 5, 2021, and published on September 15, 2021, Volume 203), Researchers from South Korea have shown that the simple use of an electric field during air evacuation can significantly improve the efficiency of ammonia removal, even in low temperatures. ”So far, ammonia removal from wastewater is thought to be dependent only on pH, temperature and air supply. However, we have shown that the electric field can function as a modulator of this process”Said lead researcher Professor Young-Chai Song.

Professor Song and his team have used direct experiments with ammonia decontamination tanks and in-depth studies to understand the efficacy of ammonia extraction in wastewater. Alternative fields of 50 MHz and 15 V / cm have been found to significantly improve the ammonia elimination efficiency and increase it from 51% to 94% even in sub-ideal conditions. Thus, improved ammonia production can be achieved by significantly reducing energy and chemical consumption.

Professor Song comments, “Our simulations show that the electric field application of ammonia removal is similar to that of conventional methods with very low temperatures, air supply and pH. Moreover, the energy required to operate an electric field is one fraction of the energy required to obtain these ‘best’ conditions.. ”

In fact, this new electric field platform provides a more economical way to extract ammonia from wastewater and reduce the amount of carbon associated with this process.



Authors: Young-Chai song1,2, Jung-Hui Woo3, Giung-Giyun O.1, Dong-Hun Kim4, Chae-yang Lee5, Hyun-Wow Kim6

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1 Department of Environmental Engineering, Korea Maritime and Ocean University, Busan 49112, South Korea

2 Ocean Renewable Energy Engineering, Korea Maritime and Ocean University, Busan 49112, South Korea International Majority Major

3 Nuclear Power Research Center, Korea Maritime and Ocean University, Busan 49112, Korea

4 Department of Civil Engineering, Inha University, Incheon 22212, South Korea

5 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Suun University, Giongi-Do, 18323, South Korea

6 Department of Environmental Engineering, Jönቡbuk National University, Jionbook 54896, South Korea

About the National Korean Maritime and Ocean University

South Korea’s most prestigious university is Maritime University, Maritime University and Ocean University. The university was founded in 1945 and has since merged with other universities to become the only post-secondary institution focused on marine science and engineering. It has four colleges offering undergraduate and graduate courses.


A song about Professor Young-Chai

Professor Young-Chai Song is a full-time professor of environmental engineering at Korea Maritime and Ocean University. He received his doctorate from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology in 1995. He researched electrochemistry in combination with existing physicochemical and biological technologies to solve environmental problems. The main focus areas of research include anaerobic digestion, improvements in anaerobic digestive performance using bioelectric chemistry, automated monitoring using technology for real-time monitoring and early warning and artificial intelligence.

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