Electrochemical Advanced Oxidation Processes for Removal of Organic pollutants from Water: Performance Studies for Sub-stoichiometric Titanium Oxide Anode and Hierarchical Layered Double Hydroxide Modified Carbon-felt Cathode
Pharmaceuticals residues as emerging pollutants have become a major concern due to their persistence and continuous accumulation in various environmental compartments and their removal is one the major challenges of this century. Electrochemical advanced oxidation processes (EAOPs) such as anodic oxidation (AO) and electro-Fenton (EF) have shown to be efficient techniques for complete degradation and mineralization of this class of pollutants. A substoichiometric titanium oxide (Ti4O7) deposited on titanium alloy by plasma elaboration was investigated as an alternative stable and efficient low cost anode materials for application in AO and EF degradation of pharmaceuticals amoxicillin (AMX) and propranolol (PPN) and mineralization of their aqueous solutions. Excellent mineralization of both pharmaceuticals was achieved with Ti4O7 anode compared to dimensional stable anode (DSA) and platinum (Pt) anodes at similar experimental conditions, but less efficient when compared with boron doped diamond (BDD) anode during AO treatment. Almost complete mineralization (96%) was attained with Ti4O7 anode in EF degradation of PPN at 120 mA after 8 h of electrolysis. Several aromatic, bicyclic and other intermediate byproducts were identified and quantified during the electrochemical treatment of both pharmaceuticals, with the final end products in the treated solutions being short-chain carboxylic acids and inorganic ions. Plausible mineralization pathways for both pharmaceuticals were proposed based on the identified intermediates, released inorganic ions and carboxylic acids as well as TOC data. Initial AMX solution shows relatively high inhibition to V. fischeri bacteria, which further increased at the early stage of electrooxidation due to formation of cyclic intermediates that are more toxic than mother molecules, but sharply decreased at the later stage of electrolysis. Since the Ti4O7 is produced mainly from TiO2 which is very cheap and highly abundant material, this anode material could be an interesting alternative electrode in industrial wastewater treatment by electrochemical oxidation. On the other hand, CoFe-layered double hydroxide modified carbon-felt (CoFe-LDH/CF) cathode synthesized by solvothermal process was studied as a heterogeneous catalyst/electrode for degradation of organic pollutant Acid Orange II (AO7) over a wide pH range. Excellent mineralization of this azo dye solution was achieved in pH range 2 – 7.1, with TOC removal much higher than corresponding homogeneous EF with raw carbon-felt (CF) at all pH studied. The prepared cathode exhibited good reusability and can constitute an alternative for the treatment of wastewater effluents at neutral pH values.