Advantages of Electrochemical Processes in Pollution Control

Jun 21, 2022

Advantages of Electrochemical Processes in Pollution Control

In general, electrochemical processes offer many distinctive advantages relative to the other technologies. The following summarizes some of the positive features of electrochemical approaches to pollution control:

Environmental compatibility: The main reagent used is the electron, which is a clean reagent, and usually there is no need for adding extra chemicals.

Versatility: Electrochemical processes involving direct or indirect oxidation and reduction can generate neutral, positively, or negatively charged inorganic, organic, or biochemical species. They can also deal with solid, liquid, or gaseous pollutants and can induce the production of precipitates, gaseous species, pH changes, or charge neutralization. The products from the electrolysis of pollutants often are even useful. In addition, a plethora of reactor and electrode materials, shapes, and configurations can be utilized. Frequently, the same reactor can be used for different electrochemical reactions with only minor changes. In addition, point-of-use production of chemicals is facilitated by electrochemical techniques (e.g., for water disinfection). Finally, volumes of fluid from microliters to millions of liters can be treated.

Energy efficiency: Electrochemical processes often have lower temperature and pressure requirements than those of equivalent nonelectrochemical counterparts (e.g., incineration, supercritical oxidation). The applied potentials can be controlled and electrodes and cells can be designed to minimize power losses due to poor current distribution and voltage drops.

Safety: Electrochemical processes are safe because of the mild conditions usually employed, and the small quantity and innocuous nature of the added chemicals.

Selectivity: The applied potential in many cases can be controlled to selective attack specific bonds and thus avoid production of by-products.

Amenability to automation: The electrical variables used in electrochemical processes are particularly suited for facilitating data acquisition, process automation, and control.

Cost effectiveness: The required equipment and operations are normally simple and, if properly designed, can also be made relatively inexpensive.