Phosphate Recovery from Human Waste via the Formation of Hydroxyapatite during Electrochemical Wastewater Treatment

Published on 2018-02-12T20:19:33Z (GMT) by
Electrolysis of toilet wastewater with TiO<sub>2</sub>-coated semiconductor anodes and stainless steel cathodes is a potentially viable onsite sanitation solution in parts of the world without infrastructure for centralized wastewater treatment. In addition to treating toilet wastewater, pilot-scale and bench-scale experiments demonstrated that electrolysis can remove phosphate by cathodic precipitation as hydroxyapatite at no additional energy cost. Phosphate removal could be predicted based on initial phosphate and calcium concentrations, and up to 80% total phosphate removal was achieved. While calcium was critical for phosphate removal, magnesium and bicarbonate had only minor impacts on phosphate removal rates at concentrations typical of toilet wastewater. Optimal conditions for phosphate removal were 3 to 4 h treatment at about 5 mA cm<sup>–2</sup> (∼3.4 V), with greater than 20 m<sup>2</sup> m<sup>–3</sup> electrode surface area to reactor volume ratios. Pilot-scale systems are currently operated under similar conditions, suggesting that phosphate removal can be viewed as an ancillary benefit of electrochemical wastewater treatment, adding utility to the process without requiring additional energy inputs. Further value may be provided by designing reactors to recover precipitated hydroxyapatite for use as a low solubility phosphorus-rich fertilizer.

Cite this collection

Cid, Clément

A.; Jasper, Justin T.; Hoffmann, Michael R. (2018): Phosphate Recovery from Human Waste via the Formation

of Hydroxyapatite during Electrochemical Wastewater Treatment. ACS Publications.