Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Electrolysing our way to cleaner drinking water

According to the United Nations, over one billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water. This could change with the invention of a cheap, effective way to purify contaminated water supplies developed by a Catalonian organisation.
Electrolysing our way to cleaner drinking water
Contamination of our drinking water is a growing concern. Threats to safe drinking water can be organic, inorganic, microbial or even radioactive in nature. Industry and agriculture are two of the largest contributors.

Large amounts of money are spent every year to clean up our water supply. Preventive actions are on the rise following increasingly strict environmental legislation. However, as zero contamination is technically and economically unachievable, corrective measures must still be applied to decontaminate groundwater supplies.

New, more effective, more economical methods are continually being sought. A Catalonian company has a promising electrochemical methodology based on the Electro-Fenton process. In this process, simultaneous reduction of oxygen and ferric ions leads to the production of hydrogen peroxide in an electrolytic cell.

The new procedure addresses a wider scope of pollutants than traditional methods, including non-biodegradable substances. Other advantages include speed and efficiency since the specific reaction pathways require less activation energy. Furthermore, the reaction by-products, water and oxygen, are clean and non-combustible. Finally, the new technique is less expensive than existing methods since the electrolytic cell does not require separators.

The Catalonian organisation seeks assistance in turning its encouraging research results into real market potential. The process has been patented and a trademark has been applied for. Such technology will be highly marketable following the recent passage of the EU Water Framework Directive, which embodies a stricter, more comprehensive approach to water quality.
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