Disinfection of Irrigation Water Using Titanium Electrodes

Geletu Qing, Mojtaba Abolhassani, Raheleh Daneshpour, Shelby L. Foster, Marty Matlock, Greg Thoma, Lauren F. Greenlee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This work reports on the electrochemical disinfection of natural irrigation water collected from the Waiahole Ditch Irrigation System in Hawaii using a batch cell assembled with titanium electrodes as both anode and cathode. Disinfection experiments were performed by applying a polarity-reversing direct current between the two titanium electrodes. The naturally occurring concentration of chloride in the water was 1.84 mg l-1 and no other chemicals were added. The applied current density was varied between 0 mA cm-2 and 2 mA cm-2, and the half-period (T/2) of the polarity-reversing direct current was varied between 5 s and 60 s. The best disinfection performance was achieved at 2 mA cm-2 and T/2 = 10 s, requiring only 5 min of treatment for the complete disinfection of E. coli (4-log reduction). E. coli was inactivated by free chlorine species electrogenerated at the titanium electrodes. Hydrogen peroxide, short-lived oxidants, and direct electron transfer most likely had minor contributions to the disinfection process. During the disinfection experiments, the concentrations of disinfection byproducts (ClO3-, CHCl3, CHBrCl2, CHBr2Cl, and CHBr3) were significantly lower than recommendations for drinking water. The titanium electrodes consumed less electrical energy than platinum-coated titanium electrodes because they needed a lower current density to achieve similar disinfection efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number063502
JournalJournal of the Electrochemical Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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