Uranium In Situ Electrolytic Deposition with a Reusable Functional Graphene-Foam Electrode

Chao Wang*, Ahmed S. Helal, Ziqiang Wang, Jian Zhou, Xiahui Yao, Zhe Shi, Yang Ren, Jinhyuk Lee, Jeng Kuei Chang, Bunshi Fugetsu, Ju Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Nuclear fission produces 400 GWe which represents 11% of the global electricity output. Uranium is the essential element as both fission fuel and radioactive waste. Therefore, the recovery of uranium is of great importance. Here, an in situ electrolytic deposition method to extract uranium from aqueous solution is reported. A functionalized reduced graphene oxide foam (3D-FrGOF) is used as the working electrode, which acts as both a hydrogen evolution reaction catalyst and a uranium deposition substrate. The specific electrolytic deposition capacity for U(VI) ions with the 3D-FrGOF is 4560 mg g−1 without reaching saturation, and the Coulombic efficiency can reach 54%. Moreover, reduction of the uranium concentration in spiked seawater from 3 ppm to 19.9 ppb is achieved, which is lower than the US Environmental Protection Agency uranium limits for drinking water (30 ppb). Furthermore, the collection electrode can be efficiently regenerated and recycled at least nine times without much efficiency fading, by ejecting into 2000 ppm concentrated uranium solution in a second bath with reverse voltage bias. All these findings open new opportunities in using free-standing 3D-FrGOF electrode as an advanced separation technique for water treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2102633
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number38
StatePublished - 23 Sep 2021


  • electrolytic deposition
  • extraction capacity
  • graphene foam
  • local pH
  • nuclear energy
  • reusability
  • uranium extraction


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