Working Paper Review Version 2 This version is not peer-reviewed

In situ Groundwater Remediation with Bioelectrochemical Systems (BES): A Critical Review and Future Perspectives

Version 1 : Received: 30 September 2019 / Approved: 2 October 2019 / Online: 2 October 2019 (05:54:54 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 14 January 2020 / Approved: 17 January 2020 / Online: 17 January 2020 (11:08:18 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.


Groundwater contamination is an ever-growing environmental issue that has attracted much and undiminished attention for the past half century. Groundwater contamination may originate from both anthropogenic (e.g., hydrocarbons) and natural compounds (e.g., nitrate and arsenic); to tackle the removal of these contaminants, different technologies have been developed and implemented. Recently, bioelectrochemical systems (BES) have emerged as a potential treatment for groundwater contamination, with reported in situ applications that showed promising results. Nitrate and hydrocarbons (toluene, phenanthrene, benzene, BTEX and light PAHs) have been successfully removed, due to the interaction of microbial metabolism with poised electrodes, in addition to physical migration due to the electric field generated in a BES. The selection of proper BESs relies on several factors and problems, such as the complexity of groundwater and subsoil environment, scale-up issues, and energy requirements that need to be accounted for. Modeling efforts could help predict case scenarios and select a proper design and approach, while BES-based biosensing could help monitoring remediation processes. In this review, we critically analyze in situ BES applications for groundwater remediation, focusing in particular on different proposed setups, and we identify and discuss the existing research gaps in the field.


bioelectrochemical systems; in situ treatment; groundwater remediation; bioelectroremediation; denitrification; microbial electrochemical technologies


Engineering, Control and Systems Engineering

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 17 January 2020
Commenter: Daniele Cecconet
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: Several changes to comply with the requests from the first (and hopefully last) review round. If needed, I can provide a version with the modifications highlighted.
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