Formation of hazardous inorganic by-products during electrolysis of seawater as a disinfection process for desalination

Byung Soo Oh, Sang Guen Oh, Youn Young Hwang, Hye Weon Yu, Joon Wun Kang, In S. Kim

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53 Citations (Scopus)


From our previous study, an electrochemical process was determined to be a promising tool for disinfection in a seawater desalination system, but an investigation on the production of several hazardous by-products is still required. In this study, a more intensive exploration of the formation patterns of perchlorate and bromate during the electrolysis of seawater was conducted. In addition, the rejection efficiencies of the targeted by-products by membrane processes (microfiltration and seawater reverse osmosis) were investigated to uncover the concentrations remaining in the final product from a membrane-based seawater desalination system for the production of drinking water. On the electrolysis of seawater, perchlorate did not provoke any problem due to the low concentrations formed, but bromate was produced at a much higher level, resulting in critical limitation in the application of the electrochemical process to the desalination of seawater. Even though the formed bromate was rejected via microfiltration and reverse osmosis during the 1st and 2nd passes, the residual concentration was a few orders of magnitude higher than the USEPA regulation. Consequently, it was concluded that the application of the electrochemical process to seawater desalination cannot be recommended without the control of bromate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5958-5965
Number of pages8
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant (07SeaHeroA01-01) from the Plant Technology Advancement Program funded by the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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