Comparison of two- and three-compartment cells for electrodialytic removal of heavy metals from contaminated material suspensions

Gunvor Marie Kirkelund*, Pernille Erland Jensen, Lisbeth M. Ottosen, Kristine B. Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Electrodialytic remediation can be applied to remove heavy metals from contaminated particulate materials in suspension. The applied electric current is the cleaning agent and the heavy metals are removed by electromigration. In this study, a two-compartment cell was compared to a three-compartment cell, for several contaminated materials such as soils, sediments, mine tailings and ashes and totally 20 experiments were conducted. The pH decrease was faster in the two-compartment cell, but the metal removal was higher in the three-compartment cell since anionic metal species are removed from the material suspension in this cell set-up. For materials with relatively high chloride content, fly ash and harbour sediments, up to 38% of the metals were found in the filtrate in the two-compartment cell. Up to 9% of the current was used to transport heavy metal ions in the experiments and the current was mainly carried by H+ and Ca2+. Even with the lower pH in the two-compartment cell experiments, there was little difference in the percentage of the current carried by the metal ions between the two set-ups. Multivariate analysis showed that the choice of cell set-up depends on the metals targeted by remediation and the material characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Pages (from-to)68-76
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Electrochemical treatment
  • Electrokinetic remediation
  • Multivariate analysis
  • Waste material

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