Innovations That Matter

The purified water could be used to fight fires | Photo source Arny Mogensen on Unsplash

Electrochemical cleaning process makes industrial wastewater reusable

Agriculture & Energy

So many contaminants are removed in the process that the water becomes useful for fighting fires, agriculture and more

Spotted: A team of research engineers from the University of Sydney has created a new method for efficiently and powerfully cleaning industrial wastewater. Even biofuel production processes create significant volumes of polluted wastewater, and the team’s goal was to create a method that did not use any further chemicals or produce additional waste. Electrochemical oxidation proved to be the answer.

An electric current passing through two electrodes placed in wastewater triggers oxidation. The oxidation process converts almost all of the pollutants into benign compounds, both organic and inorganic. In tests, 99 per cent of the carbon present in the water was removed.

The simplicity of the cleaning method makes the new process easily scalable and adaptable to a range of industries. The scientists’ future research and development plans include a closer examination of specific contaminants and working with a broader range of manufacturing processes, including those involved with wineries, pharmaceuticals and paper.

Reducing waste by upcycling it for use in other processes is a popular method of increasing sustainability. Springwise has spotted new building materials made from recyclable rubber and construction waste, and captured carbon dioxide turned into a chemical building block for a range of products, including diesel fuel and plastics.

Written By: Keely Khoury

Explore more: Agriculture & Energy Innovations | Sustainability Innovations

Email: luisa.low@sydney.edu.au

Website: sydney.edu.au

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