New paper published in Nano Research on electrochemical lead removal

New paper published in Nano Research. Heavy metal pollution is a major environmental problem to the environment and human health. Adsorption is an effective approach with a straightforward process, adaptability to a wide range of water concentrations, and high selectivity. But commonly, the materials are designed for a one-time-use and discarded after they have reached their uptake capacity.

Electrochemistry is a promising way to re-use materials by simple charge/discharge cycling. We demonstrated electrochemically enhanced selective lead removal with FeOOH. FeOOH is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective sorbent. And it is conveniently available on large scale. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of regenerating FeOOH by charge and provides a new approach for recycling and upcycling FeOOH sorbent.

Our recent study investigated the selectivity of FeOOH in a mixed solution of Co2+, Ni2+, and Pb2+ and proposed to enhance the capacity and regenerate FeOOH by using external charges. Our results demonstrated that FeOOH showed superior selectivity towards Pb2+ compared to Co2+ and Ni2+, with a purity of 97±3% in the extracts. The high selectivity is attributed to the lower activation energy for Pb2+ sorption. The system also exhibited a Pb2+ uptake capacity of 37.4 mg/g with high selectivity when using industrially exhausted granular ferric hydroxide as the electrode material.