Enhance electrocoagulation-flotation (ECF) removal efficiency perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) by adding surfactants

Yueh Feng Li, Chung Yu Ho, Yu Jung Liu, Yu Chi Lee, Ching Yao Hu, Shang Lien Lo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This research focuses on the application of electrocoagulation-flotation (ECF) in the removal of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFHxA), a prevalent short-chain perfluoroalkyl substance in semiconductor manufacturing, especially at concentrations of industrial wastewater levels. We explored the effectiveness of ECF, which employs sacrificial electrodes to create metal ions and bubbles for pollution extraction. The study particularly examines the role of various surfactants in augmenting PFHxA removal. We observed that at an initial PFHxA concentration of 1 mM, both anionic and cationic surfactants modestly increased removal efficiency, with limited impact from electrostatic repulsion. Significantly, at a higher concentration of 5.0 mM, cationic surfactants, notably DTAB with its short carbon chain, markedly enhanced PFHxA elimination. The superior performance of DTAB is attributed to its facilitation in Al(OH)3 crystal formation, promoting PFHxA adsorption, efficient micelle or bubble formation with PFHxA, and the stability of resulting flocs. Our findings underscore the efficacy of DTAB as a surfactant in ECF for high-concentration PFHxA scenarios, emphasizing the importance of surfactant and electrode material selection in optimizing PFAS treatment in wastewater systems. This study contributes valuable insights into refining PFAS remediation strategies in real industrial wastewater applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111773
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Electrocoagulation-flotation (ECF)
  • Perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA)
  • Short-chain perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS)
  • Surfactant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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