In-situ caustic generation from sewage : The impact of caustic strength and sewage composition

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5828-5835
Journal / PublicationWater Research
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


Periodic caustic dosage is a commonly used method by the water industry to elevate pH levels and deactivate sewer biofilms responsible for hydrogen sulfide generation. Caustic (NaOH) can be generated in-situ from sewage using a divided electrochemical cell, which avoids the need for transport, handling and storage of concentrated caustic solutions. In this study, we investigated the impact of caustic strength in the cathode compartment and the impact of sodium concentration in sewage on the Coulombic efficiency (CE) for caustic generation. The CE was found to be independent of the caustic strength produced in the range of up to ~3wt%. Results showed that a caustic solution of ~3wt% could be produced directly from sewage at a CE of up to 75±0.5%. The sodium concentration in sewage had a significant impact on the CE for caustic generation as well as on the energy requirements of the system, with a higher sodium concentration leading to a higher CE and lower energy consumption. The proton, calcium, magnesium and ammonium concentrations in sewage affected the CE for caustic generation, especially at low sodium concentrations. Economical assessment based on the experimental results indicated that sulfide control in sewers using electrochemically-generated caustic from sewage is an economically attractive strategy. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Research Area(s)

  • Caustic, Corrosion, Electrochemical, Sewer, Sulfide, Wastewater

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Citation Format(s)

In-situ caustic generation from sewage: The impact of caustic strength and sewage composition. / Pikaar, Ilje; Rozendal, René A.; Rabaey, Korneel et al.
In: Water Research, Vol. 47, No. 15, 01.10.2013, p. 5828-5835.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review