"Remediation of heavy metal contaminated soil by asymmetrical alternating current electrochemistry"

Jinwei Xu: Chong Liu, Po-Chun Hsu, Jie Zhao, Tong Wu, Jing Tang, Kai Liu & Yi Cui; Nature Communications, 06/04/19.

Additional Authors: Chong Liu, Po-Chun Hsu, Jie Zhao, Tong Wu, Jing Tang, Kai Liu & Yi Cui

Abstract:

Soil contamination by heavy metals constitutes an important environmental problem, whereas field applicability of existing remediation technologies has encountered numerous obstacles, such as long operation time, high chemical cost, large energy consumption, secondary pollution, and soil degradation. Here we report the design and demonstration of a remediation method based on a concept of asymmetrical alternating current electrochemistry that achieves high degrees of contaminant removal for different heavy metals (copper, lead, cadmium) at different initial concentrations (from 100 to 10,000 ppm), all reaching corresponding regulation levels for residential scenario after rational treatment time (from 30 min to 6 h). No excessive nutrient loss in treated soil is observed and no secondary toxic product is produced. Long-term experiment and plant assay show the high sustainability of the method and its feasibility for agricultural use.