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Electroflotation in wastewater treatment

Electroflotation unit is the equipment for industrial wastewater treatment from heavy metals, oil, surfactants and suspended solids.

Electroflotation is a process of floating of pollutants to water surface by tiny bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen gases generated from water electrolysis. Therefore, the electrochemical reactions at the cathode and anode are hydrogen evolution and oxygen evolution reactions, respectively.

Electroflotation module consists of electroflotator with insoluble electrodes, tanks for alkali and flocculant solutions, pumps, rectifier of 100-150 A with voltage of 24 V, sludge collecting system (Skimmer). The module ensures water treatment after pH-correction and flocculation at the initial metal concentration in the waste waters of 10-100 mg/l and suspended solids concentration up to 300 mg/l.


Figure 1. Electroflotation unit with capacity 10 м3/h, Russia, Moscow, Plating plant WWTP

The unit ensures removal of Cu2+, Ni2+, Zn2+, Cd2+, Cr3+, Fe2+, Fe3+, Al3+ ions etc. from wastewater of plating and printed circuit board production at any ratio of components in the presence of different anions.

Electroflotation unit made of polypropylene, high-reliability equipment. Capacity for one module is from 1 to 50 m3/h.

Table.1. Electroflotation system capability

Electroflotation module dimension, mm:
  length 2500
  width 1300
  height 1300
Weight, kg   200
Capacity, m3/h up to 10
required pH for wastewater treatment:    
  nickel 9,5 - 10
  copper and zinc 9 - 9,5
  aluminium 6 -7
  chrome (III) 9,5 - 10
  iron (III) 6,5 -7,5
  cadmium 9,5 - 10

heavy metal ions in blend

9 - 10

oils and greases

6,5 - 8
Initial concentration, mg/l not more than

heavy metals

10 100

suspended solids

30 300

oils and greases

50 1000
residual concentration, mg/l not more than

heavy metals

0,1 1

suspended solids

0,3 2

oils and greases

0,5 50
Power consumption, kW*h/m3 not more than 0,5
Voltage, V   24
DC Current, А   100-150
Lifetime of the insoluble anodes, years up to 10

Comparative assessment electroflotation equiipment with existing analogs:

  • High efficiency of removal of dispersed phase (as example: for mix of heavy metals hydroxides degree of removal is a=99,9%);

  • High efficiency of removal of oil and emulsions (a>90%);

  • High capacity of equipment (1m2 of equipment per 4m3/h of treated water);

  • Versatility. High efficiency of removal of mixture (as example: heavy metals hydroxides + oil + calcium phosphate);

  • Lack of secondary water pollution;

  • Low power consumption (0,1-0.5 Kwatt-h/m3);

  • Ease of operation activity and automatic mode of operation;

  • Low sediment moisture (94-96%), which it is easier to dewater respectively.


Figure 2. Wastewater treatment process using electroflotation

It is recommended to use electroflotation module as a main equipment for industrial WWTP (waste water treatment plants) specially for electroplating industry (metal finishing industry) and circuit board production.

Video 1. Electroflotation unit with capacity 5 m3/h work as the main equipment on the wastewater treatment plant

Technology and equipment were successfully implemented and tested in Russian Federation for more than 60 industrial enterprises. The delivery of pilot equipment to USA, Canada and Italy was realized.


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