An innovative bioelectrochemical reductive/oxidative sequential process was developed and tested on a laboratory scale to obtain the complete mineralization of perchloroethylene (PCE) in a synthetic medium. The sequential bioelectrochemical process consisted of two separate tubular bioelectrochemical reactors that adopted a novel reactor configuration, avoiding the use of an ion exchange membrane to separate the anodic and cathodic chamber and reducing the cost of the reactor. In the reductive reactor, a dechlorinating mixed inoculum received reducing power to perform the reductive dechlorination of perchloroethylene (PCE) through a cathode chamber, while the less chlorinated daughter products were removed in the oxidative reactor, which supported an aerobic dechlorinating culture through in situ electrochemical oxygen evolution. Preliminary fluid dynamics and electrochemical tests were performed to characterize both the reductive and oxidative reactors, which were electrically independent of each other, with each having its own counterelectrode. The first continuous-flow potentiostatic run with the reductive reactor (polarized at −450 mV vs SHE) resulted in obtaining 100% ± 1% removal efficiency of the influent PCE, while the oxidative reactor (polarized at +1.4 V vs SHE) oxidized the vinyl chloride and ethylene from the reductive reactor, with removal efficiencies of 100% ± 2% and 92% ± 1%, respectively.
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