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)

NAWI-logo-clr@2x

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