Our lab currently has several ongoing research projects in electrochemical water and wastewater treatment.

Project 1. Selenium Removal via Direct Electrochemical Reduction

Funding Agency: Department of Energy (DOE) National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI)


Aquatic selenium (Se) pollution is closely associated with mining, agricultural irrigation, hydraulic fracturing, and thermoelectric power generation and is typically discharged into the aquatic environment at a ppb to ppm level as Se(IV) and Se(VI) oxyanions (e.g., SeO32- and SeO42-). To effectively mitigate aquatic Se pollution, more than 30 full-scale biological and physicochemical Se treatment processes have been implemented in North America between 2007 and 2018. Disadvantages of existing solutions include: a large footprint, constant chemical dosing, susceptibility to performance upsets, the potential to generate toxic hydrogen selenide and organic Se species with significantly higher bioavailability (2-3 orders of magnitude) and toxicity than inorganic Se, high costs, and generating large amounts of (bio)solids that require further management and may cause secondary pollution. The development of next-generation treatment systems that can precisely separation Se from complex waste streams and overcome existing challenges, may enable pipe-parity and the reuse of waters traditionally considered waste streams.

Click to access 6.8-Anubhav-Jain-Direct-Electrochemical-Reduction-of-Selenium-to-Achieve-A-PRIME-Water-Treatment-.pdf

Critical Research Challenges

Project Team at Auburn: Zilan Yang, Dr. Ao Xie

Selected Publications:

  1. Zou, S., & Mauter, M. S. (2021). Direct electrochemical pathways for selenium reduction in aqueous solutions. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 9(5), 2027-2036.
  2. Zou, S., & Mauter, M. S. (2021). Competing Ion Behavior in Direct Electrochemical Selenite Reduction. ACS ES&T Engineering1(6), 1028-1035.

Project 2. Electrochemical Phosphorus Removal

Funding Agency: TBD

Project Team at Auburn: Jiaxiang Zhao

Project 3. Bioelectrochemical Systems for Resource Recovery

Funding Agency: TBD

Project Team at Auburn: Dr. Ao Xie