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Electro-chemical mineralization of recalcitrant indole by platinum-coated titanium electrode: multi-response optimization, mechanistic and sludge disposal study

Hiwarkar, A.D., Singh, S., Srivastava, V.C., Thakur, C., Mall, I.D., Lo, S.-L.
International journal of environmental science and technology 2018 v.15 no.2 pp. 349-360
Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, anodes, aqueous solutions, benzene, chemical oxygen demand, heterocyclic compounds, mineralization, oxidation, pH, scanning electron microscopy, sludge, specific energy, thermal analysis, titanium, ultra-performance liquid chromatography, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy
Indole is a highly recalcitrant aromatic heterocyclic organic compound consisting of a five-membered nitrogen-containing pyrrole ring fused to a six-membered benzene ring. This study presents the results of the electro-chemical mineralization of indole in an aqueous solution using platinum-coated titanium (Pt/Ti) electrode. A central composite design was used to investigate the effect of four parameters namely initial pH (pHₒ), current density (j), conductivity (k) and treatment time (t) at 5 levels. Multiple responses namely chemical oxygen demand (COD) removal (Y ₁) and specific energy consumption (Y ₂) were simultaneously maximized and minimized, respectively, by optimizing the parameters affecting the mineralization of indole by using the desirability function approach. At the operating conditions of pH 8.6, j = 161 A/m², k = 6.7 mS/cm and t = 150 min, 83.8% COD removal with specific energy consumption of 36.3 kWh/kg of COD removed was observed. Ultra performance liquid chromatography, UV–visible spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and cyclic voltammetry of the indole solution were performed at the optimum condition of the treatment so as to report a plausible mechanism of indole degradation. Field emission scanning electron microscopy analysis of electrodes before and after treatment was performed for determining the changes on anode surface during the treatment. Thermal analysis of the solid residue (scum) obtained was also performed for exploring its disposal prospects. Present study shows that electro-chemical oxidation can be used for mineralization of nitrogenous heterocyclic compounds such as indole.