Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water
Water which has been contaminated with mercury and other toxic heavy metals is a major cause of environmental damage and health problems worldwide.
Now, researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, present a totally new way to clean contaminated water, through an electrochemical process.
Their method works via extracting the heavy metal ions from water by encouraging them to form an alloy with another metal.
Industries need better methods to reduce the risk of mercury being released in nature," says Björn Wickman.
The electrode is made of the noble metal platinum, and through an electrochemical process it draws the toxic mercury out of the water to form an alloy of the two.
In this way, the water is cleaned of the mercury contamination.
This is the first time the technique with electrochemical alloying has been used for decontamination purposes," says Cristian Tunsu.
One strength of the new cleaning technique is that the electrode has a very high capacity.
According to the WHO, mercury is one of the most dangerous substances for human health, influencing our nervous system, brain development and more.
In industries where heavy metals are used, there is a need for better methods of recycling, cleaning and decontamination of the affected water.