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Extramural Research

Development of Electrochemical Techniques for the Detection/Quantification of Mercury using Boron-Doped Diamond Electrodes

EPA Grant Number: R829410E02
Title: Development of Electrochemical Techniques for the Detection/Quantification of Mercury using Boron-Doped Diamond Electrodes
Investigators: Seehra, Mohindar S. , Manivannan, Ayyakkannu , Smart, Ronald
Current Investigators: Seehra, Mohindar S.
Institution: West Virginia University
EPA Project Officer: Winner, Darrell
Project Period: October 1, 2001 through September 30, 2003
Project Amount: $274,928
RFA: EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) (2001)
Research Category: EPSCoR (The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research)



The main objective of this research is focussed at meeting the need for the rapid on-site quantification of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants in order to facilitate cost-effective control strategies for these emissions. Boron Doped Diamond (BDD) electrodes are novel electrodes utilized for the mercury analysis by electroanalytical method. It is expected that mercury concentrations in the range of ppb-ppt can be determined. Though, the spectroscopic techniques such as cold-vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry (CV-AFS), cold vapor atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-ASS) and inductively coupled plasma spectrometry (ICP-MS) have been used successfully to detect mercury, they require large sample volumes and not suitable for on-line monitoring. Our present method using BDD electrode using electroanalytical technique is a simple and novel approach for mercury detection.


Differential pulse anodic stripping (DPAS) technique will be used for the present electroanalysis of mercury. Here the species of Hg2+ in solution are first deposited (reduced) electroanalytically onto an inert electrode at constant applied potential. A dc voltage ramp (mV/sec) is then applied in a direction that will cause the deposited material to be stripped (oxidized) from the electrode at a characteristic potential. This allows the separation of the charging current from the Faradaic current component, which is proportional to the concentration of the analyte. The peak position of the current at a specific potential due to metal stripping is indicative of the particular element and the amount of current represents the quantity of the element present. The use of ultrasound during mercury deposition on the BDD electrode will also be examined.

Expected Results:

Preliminary results have demonstrated the high sensitivity and capacity of the BDD electrodes for mercury determination. Other electrodes such as glassy carbon have specific disadvantages on tedious preparation, pretreatment and high background currents. The present technique using BDD has the advantage to overcome such problems for the detection and quantification of mercury in the ppb-ppt range. Moreover, BDD can be used in harsh environments due to its inertness. Rapid on site detection and quantification of mercury will make a very important contribution to the solution of mercury problem in the environment.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 15 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 4 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

water, innovative technology, monitoring, analytical., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Waste, Ecology, Incineration/Combustion, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, electrochemical technology, mercury , boron doped diamoond electrodes, mercury, mercury emissions, air pollution, air sampling, mercury absorbtion, mercury monitoring, combustion kinetics, combustion flue gases, air quality, mercury abatement technology

Progress and Final Reports:
2002 Progress Report
2003 Progress Report
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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