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Electroprecipitation Mechanism Enabling Silica and Hardness Removal through Aluminum-Based Electrocoagulation...

Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS ES&T Engineering
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1200 to 1210

We evaluate the effectiveness of an aluminum-based electrocoagulation pretreatment system to remove dissolved silica and hardness. Silica and hardness limit water recovery during membrane-based desalination applications when silica and hardness exceed the solubility limit and generate scale on the membrane surface. We show that simultaneous removal of nearly all silica (95 ± 4%) and a significant amount of hardness (40–60%) occurs with a hydraulic residence time of 2 h and a charge loading between 0 and 1200 C/L. Increasing the residence time maximized the hardness removal (58 ± 8%) via the formation of larger flocs, which allowed for more constituent removal by gravity settling. We highlight the trade-offs between improved energy efficiency at lower charge loadings and an improved removal rate at a higher charge loading. We further compare the percente of silica and hardness removed in multicomponent solutions and compare this to single component feed solution. We discuss the implications that operational considerations have in terms of cost and treatment capacity. Finally, a cost–benefit analysis comparing chemical coagulation with electrocoagulation indicates that electrocoagulation could be half the cost of chemical coagulation and could produce more stable effluent pH and conductivity.