Removal of persistent organic contaminants by electrochemically activated sulfate

Farhat, Ali and Keller, Jurg and Tait, Stephan and Radjenovic, Jelena (2015) Removal of persistent organic contaminants by electrochemically activated sulfate. Environmental Science and Technology, 49 (24). pp. 14326-14333. ISSN 0013-936X


Solutions of sulfate have often been used as background electrolytes in the electrochemical degradation of contaminants and have been generally considered inert even when high-oxidation-power anodes such as boron-doped diamond (BDD) were employed. This study examines the role of sulfate by comparing electro-oxidation rates for seven persistent organic contaminants at BDD anodes in sulfate and inert nitrate anolytes. Sulfate yielded electro-oxidation rates 10–15 times higher for all target contaminants compared to the rates of nitrate anolyte. This electrochemical activation of sulfate was also observed at concentrations as low as 1.6 mM, which is relevant for many wastewaters. Electrolysis of diatrizoate in the presence of specific radical quenchers (tert-butanol and methanol) had a similar effect on electro-oxidation rates, illustrating a possible role of the hydroxyl radical (•OH) in the anodic formation of sulfate radical (SO4•–) species. The addition of 0.55 mM persulfate increased the electro-oxidation rate of diatrizoate in nitrate from 0.94 to 9.97 h–1, suggesting a nonradical activation of persulfate. Overall findings indicate the formation of strong sulfate-derived oxidant species at BDD anodes when polarized at high potentials. This may have positive implications in the electro-oxidation of wastewaters containing sulfate. For example, the energy required for the 10-fold removal of diatrizoate was decreased from 45.6 to 2.44 kWh m–3 by switching from nitrate to sulfate anolyte.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 04:11
Last Modified: 30 May 2019 02:19
Uncontrolled Keywords: activated sulfate, electro-oxidation
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090703 Environmental Technologies
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.5b02705

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