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ChemEngineering 2017, 1(1), 2; doi:10.3390/chemengineering1010002

Removal of Nitrate from Drinking Water by Ion-Exchange Followed by nZVI-Based Reduction and Electrooxidation of the Ammonia Product to N2(g)

Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alírio Egídio Rodrigues
Received: 5 April 2017 / Revised: 30 April 2017 / Accepted: 4 May 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
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Ion-exchange (IX) is common for separating NO3 from drinking water. From both cost and environmental perspectives, the IX regeneration brine must be recycled, via nitrate reduction to N2(g). Nano zero-valent iron (nZVI) reduces nitrate efficiently to ammonia, under brine conditions. However, to be sustainable, the formed ammonia should be oxidized. Accordingly, a new process was developed, comprising IX separation, nZVI-based nitrate removal from the IX regeneration brine, followed by indirect ammonia electro-oxidation. The aim was to convert nitrate to N2(g) while allowing repeated usage of the NaCl brine for multiple IX cycles. All process steps were experimentally examined and shown to be feasible: nitrate was efficiently separated using IX, which was subsequently regenerated with the treated/recovered NaCl brine. The nitrate released to the brine reacted with nZVI, generating ammonia and Fe(II). Fresh nZVI particles were reproduced from the resulting brine, which contained Fe(II), Na+, Cl and ammonia. The ammonia in the nZVI production procedure filtrate was indirectly electro-oxidized to N2(g) at the inherent high Cl concentration, which prepared the brine for the next IX regeneration cycle. The dominant reaction between nZVI and NO3 was described best (Wilcoxon test) by 4Fe(s) + 10H+ + NO3 → 4Fe2+ + NH4+ + 3H2O, and proceeded at >5 mmol·L−1·min−1 at room temperature and 3 < pH < 5. View Full-Text
Keywords: nitrate reduction; nZVI; electrooxidation; drinking water; ion exchange nitrate reduction; nZVI; electrooxidation; drinking water; ion exchange

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fux, I.; Birnhack, L.; Tang, S.C.; Lahav, O. Removal of Nitrate from Drinking Water by Ion-Exchange Followed by nZVI-Based Reduction and Electrooxidation of the Ammonia Product to N2(g). ChemEngineering 2017, 1, 2.

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