Electrochemical Selective Recovery of Heavy Metal Vanadium Oxyanion from Continuously Flowing Aqueous Streams

Ali Hemmatifar, Nil Ozbek, Cameron Halliday, T. Alan Hatton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


An electrochemical flow cell with redox-active electrodes was used for selective removal and recovery of vanadium(V) oxyanions from aqueous streams. The cell relies on intrinsic affinity of the redox-active polymer poly(vinyl)ferrocene (PVFc) and demonstrates selectivity of >10 towards vanadium compared to a background electrolyte in 40-fold abundance. We demonstrate highly selective vanadium removal in the presence of various competing anions (i.e., fluoride, bromide, nitrate, and sulfate). Surface elemental analysis reveals significant correlation between PVFc moieties and vanadium-rich regions after adsorption, corroborating the central role of PVFc modulation on vanadium separation. We further propose a vanadium speciation mechanism in which high and low pH environments during adsorption and desorption steps favor formation of, respectively, H2VO3/ HVO42− and H2VO3/ H3VO4/ VO2+. Results have implications for the development and optimization of flow devices, as per our observations, excessively low pH environments during desorption can lead to subsequent re-adsorption of cationic vanadium(V).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3865-3874
Number of pages10
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


N.O. greatly appreciates the support by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), 2219 International Postdoctoral Research Scholarship Program. This work made use of the MRSEC Shared Experimental Facilities at MIT.

FundersFunder number
Türkiye Bilimsel ve Teknolojik Araştirma Kurumu


    • aqueous streams
    • electrochemistry
    • metallocenes
    • resource recovery
    • vanadium


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