Electrochemical removal of naphthalene from contaminated waters using carbon electrodes, and viability for environmental deployment Academic Article uri icon


  • This work assesses the potential of electrochemical technologies for the treatment of groundwaters contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons. Specific consideration was given to deployment in Antarctic regions where numerous fuel spills have occurred over the last two centuries, and resources and manual labour for remediation efforts are limited. The polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, naphthalene, was a used as a model contaminant and was treated with low-cost, active carbon electrodes to promote the active chlorine degradation pathway. Results showed that 20 mg/L naphthalene solutions could be treated to sufficient standards in less than 3 h of treatment, and that the formation of toxic and chlorinated by-products is not an issue of concern if the appropriate timeframes are used (4 h of treatment). The effects of the applied current (0-160 mA) and electrolyte concentration (0.01-0.1 M NaCl) were evaluated and a dynamic kinetic model proposed and found to be in good agreement with the experimental results. The energy consumption is an important limitation in remote environmental regions where resources are scarce. It was found that an energy usage of 104 kW h/kg of naphthalene removed could be achieved.

publication date

  • 2020