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Electrochemical oxidation and advanced oxidation processes using a 3D hexagonal Co3O4 array anode for 4-nitrophenol decomposition coupled with simultaneous CO2 conversion to liquid fuels via a flower-like CuO cathode

Zou, Jian-Ping, Chen, Ying, Liu, Shan-Shan, Xing, Qiu-Ju, Dong, Wen-Hua, Luo, Xu-Biao, Dai, Wei-Li, Xiao, Xiao, Luo, Jin-Ming, Crittenden, John
Water research 2019 v.150 pp. 330-339
anodes, carbon dioxide, cathodes, cobalt oxide, cupric oxide, electrochemistry, ethanol, fuels, liquids, methanol, oxidation, p-nitrophenol, pollutants, urea
A novel electrocatalytic system was developed to realize one-pot conversion of organic pollutants into liquid fuels such as methanol (CH3OH) and ethanol (C2H5OH). The process combines the catalytic oxidation of organic pollutants with electrocatalytic reduction of CO2. We first coupled the electrocatalytic process with SO4•−-based advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) for the degradation of 4-nitrophenol (4-NP) using a 3D-hexagonal Co3O4 anode. In this step, 4-NP was mineralized to CO2, and then the CO2 was converted to CH3OH and C2H5OH by electrocatalytic reduction using a flower-like CuO cathode. The experimental results show the destruction of 4-NP (60 mL, 10 mg/L) can be as high as 99%. In addition, the yields of CH3OH and C2H5OH were 98.29 μmol/L and 40.95 μmol/L, respectively, which represents a conversion of 41.8% of 4-NP into liquid fuels; the electron efficiency was 73.1%. In addition, we found that 3D-hexagonal arrays of Co3O4 with different morphologies can be obtained by adding different amounts of urea. We also investigated the formation mechanism of novel 3D-hexagonal Co3O4 arrays for the first time. A mechanism was proposed to explain the electrocatalytic steps involved in the conversion of 4-NP to CH3OH and C2H5OH and the synergetic effects between AOPs and electrocatalysis.