Rajic and Fallahpour publish a paper on electrochemical TCE transformation with electrode polarity reversal

Research Associate Ljiljana (Lily) Rajic and PhD student Noushin Fallahpour just published a paper on  “Electrochemical transformation of trichloroethylene in aqueous solution by electrode polarity reversal” in Water Research.  The paper presents results from PROTECT Project 5 which aims to develop sustainable and environmentally-friendly technologies for removal of trichloroethylene (TCE) from groundwater. TCE is a chlorinated solvent that has been widely used in industrial cleaning solutions and as a “universal” degreasing agent. It is now among the substances most commonly found at the USEPA Superfund sites. This paper proves that electrode polarity reversal, a method by which the electrode polarity is reversed during electrochemical treatment, is an efficient and practical technique for transformation of TCE to non-toxic byproducts under groundwater flow conditions. Applying electrode polarity reversal is necessary in field application to prevent electrode fouling. The team is currently working to improve the TCE transformation process by electrochemical processes and prepare for pilot-testing of the technology.


PROTECT visiting scholar completes tenure at NU

Farewell-Jie-300x225Dr. Jie Peng, Associate Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at Hohai University in Nanjing, China, recently completed his tenure as a visiting scholar with the PROTECT Center at Northeastern University. Under the guidance of Professor Akram Alshawabkeh (Project 5), Dr. Peng assisted in developing and conducting experiments on the fate and transport of contaminants in soil and its impact on soil physicochemical and geotechnical properties. We thank Jie for all of his contributions during his time in the states and look forward to continued collaboration in the future.

Alshawabkeh receives prestigious ASCE award

Dr. Akram Alshawabkeh, along with Dr. Mishac Yegian, Ece Esellar-Bayat, and Seda Goyker, has been awarded the 2014 ASCE Thomas A. Middlebrooks Award for the group’s research on liquefaction mitigation by Induced Partial Saturation (IPS). The award, based on nominations put forward by the Geo-Institute of ASCE, recognizes a paper contributing to geotechnical engineering. This is a prestigious ASCE award within the field of geotechnical and geoenvironmental engineering, with a distinguished list of prior award winners. Congratulations to Professor Alshawabkeh and colleagues!

Links to the award-winning companion papers can be found below:

Liquefaction Response of Partially Saturated Sands. I: Experimental Results

Liquefaction Response of Partially Saturated Sands. II: Empirical Model

Alshawabkeh presents invited plenary at IAP2014 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Dr. Akram Alshawabkeh, presented an invited plenary lecture at the 2014 International Conference on “Interfaces Against Pollution (IAP2014)”, held in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, May 26 – 28, 2014. Dr. Alshawabkeh described basics and principles of electrochemical methods for in situ treatment of contaminated soil and groundwater with a focus on solar-powered and sustainable implementation.  He discussed recent findings from PROTECT’s Project 5 on electrochemically-induced reduction and electrochemically-induced chemical oxidation which achieved complete transformation of target contaminants including trichloroethene in groundwater.  These mechanisms have the potential to significantly influence the US government’s efforts to close thousands of Superfund sites that significantly threaten public water supply systems. Dr. Alshawabkeh also described the holistic approach of the PROTECT Center to study environmental exposure to contamination, its impacts on preterm-birth in Puerto Rico and developing innovative strategies to address these problems.

The IAP conferences are international meetings that seek to provide a forum for researchers working in the interdisciplinary field of Environmental Science.  This year’s conference, organized by the Wetsus Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology, was focused on interfaces in water and environmental science. More than 250 researchers, industry partners and other stakeholders from around the world attended the conference.


RISE is an annual exhibit of exciting new research at Northeastern University that can be translated into real-world applications. Below are descriptions of their posters, which are available for download.

Noushin Fallahpour’s work focuses on the development of strategies for TCE remediation in karstic aquifers that are green, sustainable, and effective [Project 5]. She and her colleagues examined Palladium-catalyzed hydrodechlorination under a high flow rate pumping system to prevent clogging caused by precipitates formation due to iron anode application. As the amount of precipitation is a limiting factor in two-electrode systems including iron anode, using Pd particles as catalyst and providing high flow rate facilities could improve the remediation rate, which is one of the most important aspects for remediation treatment processes. [Download Noushin's poster]

Ljiljana Rajic’s research is focused on trichloroethylene (TCE) removal from groundwater by an electrochemical flow-through reactor [Project 5]. Her presentation at RISE 2014 explained the influence of cathode material on TCE transformation in aqueous solution. [Download Ljiljana's poster] 

Ali Ciblak presented results of experiments using iron electrolysis, a novel electrochemical process that is proposed for the remediation of TCE co-contaminated groundwater [Project 5]. He and his colleagues evaluated the role of iron electrolysis in improving electrochemical remediation of a variety of groundwater contaminants. [Download Ali's poster]

Electrokinetics in Civil and Environmental Engineering Course in Denmark

The Technical University of Denmark will be hosting a Doctoral course on electrokinetics in civil and environmental engineering November 5-9, 2012 in Lyngby, Denmark. The course has been organized by Lisbeth Ottosen and Pernille Jensen of the Technical University of Denmark and Marta Castellote of the Institute of Construction Science Eduardo Torroja, Spain. PROTECT PI and co-Director Akram Alshawabkeh will be one of the lecturers in the course.

More information on the course can be found here.