The implications of pulsating anode potential on the electrochemical recovery of phosphate as magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate (struvite)

Ruhi Sultana, Lauren F. Greenlee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

A sustainable approach to address the limited availability of rock phosphate is to electrochemically recover phosphorus (P) as struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate hexahydrate, MgNH4PO4·6H2O) fertilizer. On Mg surfaces, however, magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) and/or struvite form resistive films that limit the release of divalent Mg ions and reduce struvite precipitation. The present work enhances struvite recovery through the application of a dynamic voltage with a sinusoidal waveform. Compared to a constant potential, our results demonstrated that a dynamic potential could enhance the rupture of the passivating film, and facilitate the release of Mg2+ from the metal anode, thereby overcoming passivation problems. Ammonium dihydrogen phosphate (NH4H2PO4, 10 mM) solutions at neutral pH were used as test solutions. A 160–192 % increase in magnesium release was observed versus constant voltage applications, resulting in a 1.3x increase in phosphate recovery. The scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD) characterizations indicated that the precipitate recovered contained struvite. An analysis of electrode surfaces using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) confirms a greater extent of passivating film breakdown under dynamic voltages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141522
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Volume459
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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