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  • Electro-assisted regeneration of pH-sensitive ion exchangers for sustainable phosphate removal and recovery. Water research Dong, H., Wei, L., Tarpeh, W. A. 2020; 184: 116167


    Removal and recovery of phosphate from wastewater can minimize deleterious environmental impacts and supplement fertilizer supply. Hybrid anion exchangers (HAIX, with doped ferric oxide nanoparticles (FeOnp)) can remove phosphate from complex wastewaters and recover concentrated phosphate solutions. In this study, we integrate HAIX with a weak acid cation exchanger (WAC) to enrich phosphate and calcium in mild regenerants and precipitate both elements for recovery. We demonstrated an electro-assisted regeneration approach to avoid strong acid and base input. Based on demonstrated pH sensitivities of both materials, electrochemically produced mild electrolytes (pH 3 and pH 11), which are 100-1000 times less concentrated than typical regenerants, preserved 80% WAC and 50% HAIX capacities over five batch adsorption-regeneration cycles. FeOnp in HAIX facilitated regeneration due to pH sensitivity and their likely distribution on the resin particle surface, which reduced intraparticle diffusion path length. In column tests, repeatable phosphate removal (> 95%) from synthetic wastewater (3mg P/L) was achieved with 20kWh/kg P specific energy consumption. After removal, a similar 50% HAIX regeneration efficiency as batch experiments was achieved. In spent regenerant, more than 95% phosphorus was recovered as hydroxyapatite. This novel approach enhances ion exchange by minimizing chemical inputs.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.watres.2020.116167

    View details for PubMedID 32682079