Carbon and energy footprint of electrochemical vinegar wastewater treatment

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GEREK E. E., Yilmaz S., Koparal A. S., GEREK Ö. N.

International Conference on Advances in Energy Systems and Environmental Engineering (ASEE), Wroclaw, Poland, 2 - 05 July 2017, vol.22 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 22
  • Doi Number: 10.1051/e3sconf/20172200051
  • City: Wroclaw
  • Country: Poland
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Electrochemical treatment of wastewaters that are rich in organic compounds is a popular method, due to its acidic nature that avoids biological treatment. In many cases, the pollution hazard is considered as the chemical oxygen demand (COD) from active carbon, and the success of the treatment is measured in terms of how much this specific parameter is reduced. However, if electricity is used during the treatment process, the treatment "itself" has manufacturing and operational energy costs. Many of the studies consider energy utilization as a monetary cost, and try to reduce its amount. However, the energy cost of the treatment also causes emission of carbon at the energy producing side of the closed loop. This carbon emission can be converted into oxygen demand, too. Therefore, it can be argued that one must look for the total optimal carbon efficiency (or oxygen demand), while reducing the COD. We chose a highly acidic wastewater case of vinegar production, which is a popular food product in Turkey, to demonstrate the high energy consumption and carbon emission problem of the electrochemical treatment approach. A novel strategy is presented to monitor total oxygen demand simultaneously at the treatment and energy production sides. Necessity of renewable energy utilization and conditions on process termination points are discussed.