Home » INTERNATIONAL MARINE LITTER DATABASE » Removal of Microbeads from Wastewater Using Electrocoagulation

William Perren, Arkadiusz Wojtasik, and Qiong Cai

Removal of Microbeads from Wastewater Using Electrocoagulation

ACS Omega, 2018, 3 (3), pp 3357–3364
DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b02037
Publication Date (Web): March 20, 2018


The need for better microplastic removal from wastewater streams is
clear, to prevent potential harm the microplastic may cause to the
marine life.
This paper aims to investigate the efficacy of electrocoagulation (EC),
a well-known and established process, in the unexplored context of microplastic
removal from wastewater streams.
This premise was investigated using artificial wastewater containing
polyethylene microbeads of different concentrations. The wastewater was
then tested in a 1 L stirred-tank batch reactor. The effects of the
wastewater characteristics (initial pH, NaCl concentration, and current
density) on removal efficiency were studied. Microbead removal
efficiencies in excess of 90% were observed in all experiments, thus
suggesting that EC is an effective method of removing microplastic
contaminants from wastewater streams. Electrocoagulation was found to be
effective with removal efficiencies in excess of 90%, over pH values
ranging from 3 to 10. The optimum removal efficiency of 99.24% was found
at a pH of 7.5. An economic evaluation of the reactor operating costs
revealed that the optimum NaCl concentration in the reactor is between 0
and 2 g/L, mainly due to the reduced energy requirements linked to
higher water conductivity. In regard to the current density, the
specific mass removal rate (kg/kWh) was the highest for the lowest
tested current density of 11 A/m2, indicating that low current density
is more energy efficient for microbead removal.



Removal of Microbeads from Wastewater Using Electrocoagulation

19. May 2021