Laboratory and pilot testing of electrocoagulation for removing scaleforming species from industrial process waters

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23 Scopus citations


This study investigated the performance of electrocoagulation using iron and aluminum electrodes for removing silica, calcium and magnesium from cooling tower blowdown and reverse osmosis reject waters. Experiments were conducted at both the bench and pilot scales to determine the levels of target species removal as a function of the coagulant dose. At the bench scale, aluminum removed the target compounds from both cooling tower blowdown and reverse osmosis reject more efficiently than iron. A 2 mM aluminum dose removed 80% of the silica and 20 to 40% of the calcium and magnesium. The same iron dose removed only 60% of the silica and 10 to 20% of the calcium and magnesium. When operated with iron electrodes, pilot unit performance was comparable to that of the bench unit, which suggests that such systems can be scaled-up on the basis of coagulant dose. However, when operated with aluminum electrodes the pilot unit underperformed the bench unit due to fouling of the electrode surfaces after a few hours of operation. This result was completely unexpected based on the short-term experiments performed using the bench unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)522-526
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009



  • Cooling tower blowdown
  • Electrocoagulation
  • Hardness removal
  • Silica removal
  • Water softening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Engineering

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