Research Assistant Professor, Center for Contaminant Hydrology, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
Colorado State University
Dr. Blotevogel is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Colorado State University (CSU). He holds a PhD in Environmental Chemistry from CSU and a Diploma in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University Berlin, and has worked three years as consultant for in situ groundwater remediation.
Dr. Blotevogel’s research interests revolve around the fate of new and emerging contaminants, conducting laboratory- and field-scale experiments to elucidate degradation in both natural and engineered systems. He has developed sustainable water treatment technologies, theoretical models for contaminant degradation pathways and kinetics, as well as various advanced analytical techniques with a focus on transformation products and complex mixtures. He is currently working on solutions for managing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), 1,4-dioxane, pesticides, perchlorate, polar hydrocarbons, and oil & gas produced water.
Sustainable Remediation of Perchlorate in Groundwater via Bioelectrochemical Treatment
The use of perchlorate in solid propellants has led to subsurface contamination at numerous sites. Here, we investigate the viability of bioelectrochemical reduction for the sustainable remediation of perchlorate-contaminated groundwater at a site in the Western United States. In this process, both hydrogen from water electrolysis and organic carbon from CO2 reduction are generated at the cathode, serving as electron donors for downgradient microbial perchlorate reduction. First, we evaluated different electrode materials and membranes in a divided electrochemical reactor to optimize electron donor generation. Subsequently, we used original site soils in flow-through columns to quantify microbial perchlorate reduction kinetics and elucidate the impacts of competing electron acceptors. To establish a mechanistic understanding of the microbial dynamics, we extracted DNA to resolve community structure and RNA to quantify gene expression associated with perchlorate reduction. Our findings establish that bioelectrochemical treatment is a promising sustainable approach for the remediation of perchlorate-contaminated groundwater.
Authors: Andrea Hanson, Robert Young, Christopher Ritchie, Scott Warner, Tom Sale, Susan De Long, Jens Blotevogel