Opportunities for in situ electro-regeneration of organic contaminant-laden carbonaceous adsorbents

Gamze Ersan, Gabriel Antonio Cerrón-Calle, Mahmut S. Ersan, Sergi Garcia-Segura

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Adsorptive separation technologies have proven to be effective on organic contaminant removal in aqueous water. However, the breakthrough of contaminants is inevitable and can be at relatively low bed volumes, which makes the regeneration of spent adsorbents an urgent need. Electrochemically induced regeneration processes are given special attention and may provide ease of operation through in situ regeneration avoiding (i) removal and transport adsorbents, and (ii) avoiding use of hazardous chemicals (i.e., organic solvents, acids, or bases). Therefore, this review article critically evaluates the fundamental aspects of in situ electro-regeneration for spent carbons, and later discusses specific examples related to the treatment of emerging contaminants (such as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS). The fundamental concepts of electrochemically driven processes are comprehensively defined and addressed in terms of (i) adsorbent characteristics, (ii) contaminant properties, (iii) adsorption/regeneration driving operational parameters and conditions, and (iv) the competitive effects of water matrices. Additionally, future research needs and challenges to enhance understanding of in situ electro-regeneration applications for organic contaminants (specifically PFAS)-laden adsorbents are identified and outlined as a future key perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119718
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023


  • Electrochemical water treatment
  • Granular activated carbon (GAC)
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
  • Spent carbon
  • Water treatment process intensification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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