Green inhibitors reduce unwanted calcium carbonate precipitation: Implications for technical settings

Stefanie Eichinger*, Ronny Boch, Albrecht Leis, Andre Baldermann, Gunnar Domberger, Christian Schwab, Martin Dietzel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mineral scale deposits in water drainage and supply systems are a common and challenging issue, especially by clogging the water flow. The removal of such unwanted deposits is cost intensive arguing for case-specific and sustainable prevention strategies. In the present study, a novel on-site approach to prevent calcium carbonate (CaCO3) scale formation was assessed in two road tunnel drainages: Application of the eco-friendly green inhibitor polyaspartate (PASP) caused (i) a significant inhibition of CaCO3 precipitation, (ii) a more porous or even unconsolidated consistence of the deposits, and (iii) a shift from calcite to the metastable aragonite and vaterite polymorphs. Even relatively low PASP concentrations (1–33 mg/l) can significantly decrease CaCO3 scale deposition, removing up to ∼7 t CaCO3/year at an efficiency up to 84%. Application of PASP for water conditioning should also consider case-specific microbial activity effects, where consumption of PASP, e.g. by Leptothrix ochracea, can limit inhibition effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117850
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Calcium carbonate
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Green inhibitor
  • Leptothrix ochracea
  • Polyaspartate
  • Tunnel drainage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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