The technology behind the reactor is a testament to Zhang's Group's commitment to green innovation. By utilizing electrochemical oxidation, the reactor effectively destroys algae cells without introducing any harmful substances into the water, ensuring that the irrigation water remains pure and safe for crops. This not only supports the health of the plants but also aligns with the global movement towards environmentally responsible farming practices.

The intricate assembly and operationalization of the electrochemical oxidation electrolyzer were spearheaded by Jianan Gao, a Ph.D. candidate in Zhang's Group. Gao's contribution went beyond mere assembly; it encompassed the meticulous selection of materials, optimization of the system's design to enhance efficiency, and rigorous testing under various conditions to ensure reliability and effectiveness. Gao's hands-on approach and technical expertise were instrumental in not only setting up the electrolyzer but also in troubleshooting initial challenges, thereby laying a solid foundation for the group's experimental work. Zhang's Group continues to pioneer innovative solutions that support sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship. This collaboration with YB Farm is just one example of the group's dedication to making a positive impact on the global agricultural landscape.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with YB Farm in tackling the challenge of algae control in a sustainable manner," said Dr. Wen Zhang. "Our technology is designed to offer a practical solution to farms worldwide, reducing reliance on chemical treatments and promoting a healthier, more sustainable agricultural ecosystem."

在支持可持续精准农业实践和技术开发领域,我们团队又取得了一项重要的进展。2024年3月25日,我们在新泽西的一家农场交付了一台试验规模的电化学氧化反应器,旨在帮助他们对抗循环养分水中的有害藻类。电化学过程能够通过产生羟基自由基(•OH)、超氧自由基(•O2−)、过氧自由基(•HO2)和活性氯直接氧化水体中的有机物,包括藻类和其他潜在的水源病原体。此外,电化学高级氧化过程(EAOP)是一种无化学品使用的过程,完全依赖电力驱动。因此,我们期待该技术能够减少或停止使用化学杀藻剂(例如ZeroTol 2.0),降低因藻类爆发而导致的淡水使用量,并通过去除藻类和其他各种水源病原体来增强水的消毒效果并促进植物的健康生长。我们诚挚欢迎大家参与技术的推广和后期产业化咨询工作。

Innovates Algae Control with Electrochemical Technology

Fig. 1. Photos of the transport and installation of this electrochemical oxidation reactor in YB farm.

Wen Zhang, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE

Principal Investigator
Professor

Phone: (973) 596-5520 
Fax: (973) 596-5790
Email: wen.zhang@njit.edu

Office Location: Colton Hall 211

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Fig. 2. The framework of electrochemical oxidation reactor for YB farm.

In an era where sustainable farming practices are not just preferred but necessary, Zhang's Group has made a significant leap forward with the delivery of a pilot-scale electrochemical oxidation reactor as shown in Fig. 1 to a local farm in New Jersey on March 25, 2024 to help them fight against harmful algae in the circulated nutrient water. The electrochemical process can directly oxidize organic matters including algae and other possible waterborne pathogens by generating hydroxyl radicals (•OH), superoxide radical (•O2−), hydroperoxyl radical (•HO2), and active chlorines as chloride ions are commonly present in nutrient water. Electrochemical advanced oxidation process (EAOP) is a chemical-free process and totally electricity driven (https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.9b07022).

Zhang’s group members, Jianan Gao, Guangyu Zhu, Atukuri Sowmya, Santhoshkumar Vuppala and Trusha Mistry and Dr. Zhang transported this device to the farm and will operate the device for a few weeks to obtain field data to reduce or terminate the use of chemical algaecide (ZeroTol 2.0), reduce the frequency of freshwater withdraw and replacement of the nutrient water due to algal bloom, increase water disinfection and health of plants by removing algae and other varieties of waterborne pathogens, which represents a pivotal advancement in agricultural sustainability.

 

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