Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water


01/05/2017 - 30/06/2023

Three-dimensional nanoelectrochemical systems based on low-cost reduced graphene oxide: the next generation of water treatment systems

The ever-increasing influx of toxic chemical agents is rapidly deteriorating the health of our ecosystems and, above all, endangering human health. Overcoming the challenge of water pollution requires new water treatment technologies that are sustainable, robust and energy efficient. ELECTRON4WATER proposes a pioneering chemical-free water purification technology: a three-dimensional (3D) nanoelectrochemical system equipped with low-cost reduced graphene (RGO) electrodes. Existing research on graphene-based electrodes has focused on applications of supercapacitors and in the synthesis of defect-free superconducting graphene. Instead, in this project we will use the defective structure of RGO to induce the production of reactive oxygen species and enhance the electrocatalytic degradation of pollutants. We will investigate electrolysis reactions on a 3D electrochemically polarized RGO coated material, which offers high catalytic activity and a large surface area available for electrolysis. This innovative approach to electrochemical reactor design is expected to greatly improve current efficiency and achieve complete removal of persistent contaminants and pathogens from water without using any chemicals, simply by applying current. In addition, the high capacitance of the RGO-based material can enable greater energy savings and enable the use of intermittent energy sources such as photovoltaic panels. These characteristics make 3D nanoelectrochemical systems particularly interesting for small-scale distributed applications. This project aims to: i) designing the optimal RGO-based material for specific treatment goals, ii) understand the mechanism of (electro)catalysis and (electro)sorption of persistent pollutants in RGO and electrochemically polarized RGO, iii) understand the role of the inorganic and organic matrix and recognize the possible limitations of the process, i iv) develop adapted and adaptable solutions for the treatment of contaminated water. What we do Our research group is dedicated to the development and optimization of (nano)electrochemical systems for water and waste water treatment. We are particularly interested in those pollutants that are refractory or difficult to remove using other conventional and advanced treatment technologies. For example, electrochemical processes are capable of completely defluorinating and degrading some of the pollutants.





Radjenovic, Jelena, Duinslaeger, Nick, Ormeño Cano, Natalia, Cuervo Lumbaque, Elisabeth, Segués Codina, Anna


Radjenovic, Jelena