Dr. Jens Blotevogel, research, Bioelectrochemical Treatment of Persistent Environmental Contaminants
- Monday, March 25, 2019 from 3:00pm to 4:00pm
- Roberts Hall, 218 - view map
Dr. Jens Blotevogel from Colorado State University is a candidate for assistant professor in environmental engineering environmental. He will present his research on "Bioelectrochemical Treatment of Persistent Environmental Contaminants".
Thousands of anthropogenic and toxic contaminants have found their way into our watersheds. Often designed for durability in industrial, medical and consumer products, their chemical stability translates into increased environmental persistence. The inability of traditional water purification technologies to destroy many persistent contaminants has created a critical need for advanced treatment. As anodic oxidation and cathodic reduction are capable of degrading virtually any pollutant, electrochemical processes have gained increasing interest for the remediation of contaminated groundwater, wastewater, urban runoff, and potentially drinking water. However, the environmental footprint of electrochemical treatment can be significant as most of the applied current is wasted during water splitting into oxygen and hydrogen gas.
In an effort to enhance treatment efficiency, we have been exploring the coupling of electrochemical with biological processes. The focus of our work has been on the probable human carcinogen 1,4-dioxane, one of the most widely detected organic compounds in U.S. water wells, as well as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), developmental toxicants of extraordinary persistence that are truly ubiquitous from North to South Pole. Our research shows that during combined bioelectrochemical treatment, synergistic effects arise through microbial utilization of water splitting products, transformation of persistent parent compounds into growth-supporting intermediates, and removal of inhibiting co-contaminants such as chlorinated solvents. Overall, the coupling with biological processes leads to reduced electrode material usage, increased electrode service life, lower energy consumption, and decreased by-product formation.
Electrochemical processes can be readily combined with other treatment technologies such as nanofiltration. They can be easily adjusted to variations in influent composition without the need for chemical addition and without waste generation. Thus, they are suitable for a range of applications from decentralized water treatment in small remote communities to industrial site remediation near large urban centers. Especially when driven by solar power, our research suggests that combined electrochemical treatment is a promising sustainable technology for the destruction of persistent environmental contaminants.
Biosketch. Dr. Jens Blotevogel is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University (CSU). He holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from CSU, a Diploma in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University Berlin, and has worked three years with Arcadis as project engineer for in situ groundwater remediation.
Dr. Blotevogel’s research interests revolve around the fate of emerging contaminants, conducting laboratory- and field-scale experiments to elucidate their degradation in both natural and engineered systems. He has developed sustainable water treatment technologies, theoretical models for contaminant fate prediction, and various advanced analytical methods with a focus on high-resolution accurate mass spectrometry. He is currently working on solutions for managing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), 1,4-dioxane, pesticides, perchlorate, chloronitrobenzenes, and oil & gas produced water.
- Civil Engineering