Copper, as an inseparable part of many industrial discharges, threatens both public and environmental health. In this work, an electrochemical cell utilizing a cellulosic separator was used to evaluate Cu removal using graphite anodes and stainless steel cathodes in a continuous-flow mode reactor. In the experimental matrix, Cu concentration (1–5 mg L−1), electrolysis time (20–90 min), and current intensity (0.1–0.4 A) were employed. Results showed that the maximum removal efficiency of copper was obtained as 99%. The removal efficiency was independent of initial copper concentration and directly related to electrolysis time and current intensity. Energy consumption was more dependent on current intensity than electrolysis time. Under optimal conditions (75.8 min electrolysis time, 0.18 A current intensity, and 3 mg L−1 copper concentration), the removal efficiency was obtained as 91% while 7.05 kWh m−3 electrical energy was consumed. The differences between the actual and predicted data under optimal conditions were 0.42% for copper removal and 0.23% for energy consumption, which signify the performance and reliability of the developed models. The results exhibited the suitability of the electrochemical reduction for copper removal from aqueous solutions, which was facilitated under alkaline conditions prevailing in the cathodic compartment due to applying a cell divided by a cellulosic separator.
- cellulosic separator
- central composite design
- copper removal
- electrochemical cell
- First received 5 August 2016.
- Accepted in revised form 14 December 2016.
- © IWA Publishing 2017