Zeppilli M., Dell’Armi E., Petrangeli Papini M., Majone M., 2021, Sequential Reductive/oxidative Bioelectrochemical Process for Groundwater Perchloroethylene Removal, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 86, 373-378.
Chlorinated aliphatic hydrocarbons (CAHs) are common groundwater contaminants, microbial communities naturally present in groundwater can reduce CAHs as perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) to ethylene through reductive dechlorination (RD) reaction while low chlorinated CAHs like cis-dichloroethylene (cis DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC) can be oxidized by aerobic pathways. A combination of reductive and oxidative dechlorination results an effective strategy for the complete mineralization of CAHs. Bioelectrochemical systems (BES) are innovative processes which can be adopted to stimulate both reductive and oxidative dechlorination biomass through polarized electrodes. The present study describes the performances of a an oxidative bioelectrochemical reactor composed by a membrane-less microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) equipped with an internal graphite counterelectrode. In the oxidative reactor the oxygen provided by a mixed metal oxides (MMO) anode stimulated the oxidative dechlorination of the cisDCE contained in synthetic groundwater. Throughout the experimental period, both reductive and oxidative dechlorination pathways were identified due to presence of an internal counter electrode that acted as electron donor. Reductive and oxidative bioelectrochemical reactions, including anions reduction were determined and their relative contribution to the overall flowing current has been quantified in terms of oxidative and reductive coulombic efficiencies.