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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2012, Article ID 689807, 7 pages
Research Article

Supported Nanosized α-FeOOH Improves Efficiency of Photoelectro-Fenton Process with Reaction-Controlled pH Adjustment for Sustainable Water Treatment

1Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chongqing 401122, China
2School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
3Guangzhou Municipal Engineering Design & Research Institute, Guangzhou 510060, China

Received 27 July 2012; Accepted 12 September 2012

Academic Editor: Jiaguo Yu

Copyright © 2012 Chuan Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The overall photoelectro-Fenton (PE-Fenton) process for water treatment with neutral initial pH includes three steps of pH reduction, PE-Fenton reaction, and pH elevation. Reaction-controlled pH adjustment (RCpA), which utilizes the intrinsic electrochemical reactions instead of chemical addition, has been employed to lower the pH, maintain the lowered pH for the Fenton reaction, and recover the pH for final effluent discharge. This study demonstrated that the overall efficiency of this sustainable PE-Fenton process was improved by rapidly recycling the iron substance. Nanosized iron oxide was prepared and employed to ensure such rapid recycling. SEM and XRD results showed that the as-prepared iron oxide was α-FeOOH with 20 nm in size. The experimental results of dimethyl phthalate (DMP) degradation showed that diatomite-supported α-FeOOH (N-α-FeOOH/diatomite) could efficiently reduce the DMP concentration and total organic carbon. Furthermore, compared with Fe3+, the N-α-FeOOH/diatomite saved 160 min for iron settlement at 20 mg L−1 DMP concentration. Also, with the increment in the initial DMP concentration, extra energy consumed by the individual step of PE-Fenton reaction using the N-α-FeOOH/diatomite became negligible compared with that using free iron ions with the increment in the initial DMP concentration. This development is expected to be a major step of the PE-Fenton process with RCpA towards actual water treatment.