Enhanced degradation of organic contaminants using catalytic activity of carbonaceous structures: A strategy for the reuse of exhausted sorbents

Wendong Tao , Kalyani Mer , Baharak Sajjadi , Nosa.O. Egiebor , Wei-Yin Chen , Daniell.L. Mattern


Received April 16, 2020,Revised , Accepted June 24, 2020, Available online July 17, 2020

Volume 33,2021,Pages 267-273

Generation of hydroxyl radicals (⋅OH) is the basis of advanced oxidation process (AOP). This study investigates the catalytic activity of microporous carbonaceous structure for in-situ generation of ⋅OH radicals. Biochar (BC) was selected as a representative of carbon materials with a graphitic structure. The work aims at assessing the impact of BC structure on the activation of H2O2, the reinforcement of the persistent free radicals (PFRs) in BC using heavy metal complexes, and the subsequent AOP. Accordingly, three different biochars (raw, chemically- and physiochemically-activated BCs) were used for adsorption of two metal ions (nickel and lead) and the degradation of phenol (100 mg/L) through AOP. The results demonstrated four outcomes: (1) The structure of carbon material, the identity and the quantity of the metal complexes in the structure play the key roles in the AOP process. (2) the quantity of PFRs on BC significantly increased (by 200%) with structural activation and metal loading. (3) Though the Pb-loaded BC contained a larger quantity of PFRs, Ni-loaded BC exhibited a higher catalytic activity. (4) The degradation efficiency values for phenol by modified biochar in the presence of H2O2 was 80.3%, while the removal efficiency was found to be 17% and 22% in the two control tests, with H2O2 (no BC) and with BC (no H2O2), respectively. Overall, the work proposes a new approach for dual applications of carbonaceous structures; adsorption of metal ions and treatment of organic contaminants through in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO).

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