Electrolytic oxidation as a sustainable method to transform urine into nutrients
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© 2020 by the authors. In this work, the transformation of urine into nutrients using electrolytic oxidation in a single-compartment electrochemical cell in galvanostatic mode was investigated. The electrolytic oxidation was performed using thin film anode materials: boron-doped diamond (BDD) and dimensionally stable anodes (DSA). The transformation of urine into nutrients was confirmed by the release of nitrate (NO3-) and ammonium (NH4 +) ions during electrolytic treatment of synthetic urine aqueous solutions. The removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total organic carbon (TOC) during electrolytic treatment confirmed the conversion of organic pollutants into biocompatible substances. Higher amounts of NO3-and NH4 + were released by electrolytic oxidation using BDD compared to DSA anodes. The removal of COD and TOC was faster using BDD anodes at different current densities. Active chlorine and chloramines were formed during electrolytic treatment, which is advantageous to deactivate any pathogenic microorganisms. Larger quantities of active chlorine and chloramines were measured with DSA anodes. The control of chlorine by-products to concentrations lower than the regulations require can be possible by lowering the current density to values smaller than 20 mA/cm2. Electrolytic oxidation using BDD or DSA thin film anodes seems to be a sustainable method capable of transforming urine into nutrients, removing organic pollution, and deactivating pathogens.