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Multilayer Heterojunction Anodes for Saline Wastewater Treatment: Design Strategies and Reactive Species Generation Mechanisms

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Linde + Robinson Laboratories California Institute of Technology Pasadena, California 91125, United States
Cite this: Environ. Sci. Technol. 2016, 50, 16, 8780–8787
Publication Date (Web):July 12, 2016
Copyright © 2016 American Chemical Society
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Multilayer heterojunction SbSn/CoTi/Ir anodes, which consist of Ir0.7Ta0.3O2 bottom layers coated onto a titanium base, Co-TiO2 interlayers, and overcoated discrete Sb-SnO2 islands, were prepared by spray pyrolysis. The Ir0.7Ta0.3O2 bottom layer serves as an Ohmic contact to facilitate electron transfer from semiconductor layers to the Ti base. The Co-TiO2 interlayer and overcoated Sb-SnO2 islands enhance the evolution of reactive chlorine. The surficial Sb-SnO2 islands also serve as the reactive sites for free radical generation. Experiments coupled with computational kinetic simulations show that while ·OH and Cl· are initially produced on the SbSn/CoTi/Ir anode surface, the dominant radical formed in solution is the dichlorine radical anion, Cl2·. The steady-state concentration of reactive radicals is 10 orders of magnitude lower than that of reactive chlorine. The SbSn/CoTi/Ir anode was applied to electrochemically treat human wastewater. These test results show that COD and NH4+ can be removed after 2 h of electrolysis with minimal energy consumption (370 kWh/kg COD and 383 kWh/kg NH4+). Although free radical species contribute to COD removal, anodes designed to enhance reactive chlorine production are more effective than those designed to enhance free radical production.

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The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00688.

  • Figures provided in Supporting Information include SEM, LSV, and ECSA measurement of anodes, model simulation results, time profiles of ions, the calculation of FC contribution to pollutant removal and energy consumption in wastewater electrolysis. Tables include human wastewater composition and details of the kinetic model (PDF)

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