Effective removal of mercury from aqueous streams via electrochemical alloy formation on platinum
Journal article, 2018
Retrieval of mercury from aqueous streams has significant environmental and societal importance due to its very high toxicity and mobility. We present here a method to retrieve mercury from aqueous feeds via electrochemical alloy formation on thin platinum films. This application is a green and effective alternative to traditional chemical decontamination techniques. Under applied potential, mercury ions in solution form a stable PtHg4 alloy with platinum on the cathode. A 100 nanometres platinum film was fully converted to a 750 nanometres thick layer of PtHg4. The overall removal capacity is very high, > 88 g mercury per cm3. The electrodes can easily be regenerated after use. Efficient and selective decontamination is possible in a wide pH range, allowing processing of industrial, municipal, and natural waters. The method is suited for both high and low concentrations of mercury and can reduce mercury levels far below the limits allowed in drinking water.