A novel multi-electrode system is proposed for electrolytic and biological water treatments. The multi-electrode system is comprised of multiple working electrodes and their counter electrode, where electric current or potential applied to each electrode is controlled independently. Experimental result for different electrolyte solutions showed that electric charge in the system was efficiently carried by dissociative electrolytes such as carbonate ions. This transfer mechanism is regarded as being effective both in keeping pH level around neutrality and in passing certain amounts of electric current especially in dilute solutions such as groundwater and surface water. A long-term (over 500 days) experiment also showed the enhanced and stable denitrification performance of biofilm-electrode reactor (BER) equipped with the multi-electrode system, comparing to former BERs. This superior performance was thought to be attributable to large effective surface area of electrode, the charge transfer mechanism by dissociative electrolyte, and the formation of highly reducing (or oxidizing) zones. From these results, we conclude that the multi-electrode system is useful for electrolytic and biological treatments of groundwater and surface water.
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