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The beneficial effect of cathodic hydrogen peroxide generation on mitigating chlorinated by-product formation during water treatment by an electro-peroxone process

Yao, Weikun, Fu, Jing, Yang, Hongwei, Yu, Gang, Wang, Yujue
Water research 2019 v.157 pp. 209-217
byproducts, chloramphenicol, clofibric acid, dissolved organic matter, electrochemistry, electrolysis, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals, oxidation, oxygen, ozonation, ozone, pollutants, pollution control, surface water, water treatment
The formation of chlorinated by-products is a major concern associated with electrochemical water treatment processes. This study investigated the formation of chlorinated by-products during surface water treatment by a newly developed electrochemical advanced oxidation process (EAOP), the electro-peroxone (E-peroxone) process, which couples ozonation with in situ electro-generation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) from cathodic oxygen reduction. Due to the enhanced ozone (O3) conversion to hydroxyl radicals (•OH) by electro-generated H2O2, the E-peroxone process considerably accelerated the abatement of ozone-refractory micropollutants such as clofibric acid and chloramphenicol in the selected surface water compared to conventional ozonation. In addition, the cathodically generated H2O2 effectively quenched hypochlorous acid (HOCl) derived from the anodic oxidation of chloride in the surface water. Therefore, the formation of trichloromethane (TCM) and chloroacetic acids (CAAs) from the reactions of HOCl with dissolved organic matter (DOM) was insignificant during the E-peroxone process, and similar levels of TCM and CAAs were generally observed in the conventional ozonation and E-peroxone treated water. In contrast, considerable amounts of HOCl could be generated from the anodic oxidation of chloride and then accumulated in the surface water during conventional electrolysis process, which resulted in significantly higher concentrations of TCM and CAAs in the electrolysis treated water. The results of this study suggest that the E-peroxone process can overcome the major limitation of conventional electrochemical processes and provide an effective and safe EAOP alternative for micropollutant abatement during water treatment.