Electro-assisted removal of polar and ionic organic compounds from water using activated carbon felts

Electro-assisted removal of polar and ionic organic compounds from water using activated carbon felts

Highly water-soluble, persistent, and mobile organic compounds (PMOCs) are more and more often detected in surface and groundwater, evoking potential threats to the environment and human health. Traditional water treatment strategies, including adsorption by activated carbon materials, fail to efficiently remove PMOCs due to their hydrophilic nature. Electro-assisted sorption processes offer a clean, facile, and promising solution to remove PMOCs on activated carbon-based electrodes and potentially allow an easy on-site sorbent regeneration (trap&release). In this work, the electrosorption of five selected PMOCs, that is, tetrapropylammonium (TPA+), benzyltrimethylammonium (BTMA+), p-tosylate (p-TsO), p-toluenesulfonamide (p-TSA), and methyl-tert-butyl ether (MTBE), were investigated on two comprehensively characterized activated carbon felt (ACF) types carrying different surface functionalities. Significant enrichment factors in ranges of 102 to 103 for charged PMOCs were expected by our first estimation for electro-assisted trap&release on ACFs in flow systems applying potentials in the range of −0.1 V/+0.6 V vs. SHE for ad-/desorption, respectively. Defunctionalized ACF carrying larger density in surface π-systems and lower O-content promises a higher capability in electrosorption processes than the pristine material in terms of better material stability (tested for 5 cycles over 500 h) and better removal efficiency of ionic PMOCs. To improve ACFs adsorption performance for cationic and anionic PMOCs, permanent chemical surface modification and reversible electric polarization as alternative strategies are compared. Our findings explore future electrode and process design of electrosorption for applications to treat water contaminated by emerging PMOCs.

 

Electro-assisted removal of polar and ionic organic compounds from water using activated carbon felts

 

 

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