Abstract: The development of heterogeneous Fenton-based electrochemical advanced oxidation processes is important for the removal of organic pollutants at industrial level in the near future. This work reports the application of heterogeneous photoelectro-Fenton (HPEF) with UVA light as an enhanced alternative to the more widespread heterogeneous electro-Fenton (HEF) process. The treatment of the antibiotic cephalexin using chalcopyrite as a sustainable catalyst was studied using an undivided IrO2/air-diffusion cell. XPS analysis showed the presence of Fe(III), Cu(I) and Cu(II) species on the surface. The amount of Fe2+ ions dissolved upon chalcopyrite exposure to continuous stirring and air bubbling was proportional to chalcopyrite content. In all cases, the occurrence of pH self-regulation to an optimum value near 3 was observed. The HEF and HPEF treatments of 100 mL of 50 mg L−1 cephalexin solutions with 0.050 M Na2SO4 have been studied with 1.0 g L−1 chalcopyrite at 50 mA cm−2. Comparative homogeneous EF and PEF with dissolved Fe2+ and Cu2+ catalysts were also performed. HPEF was the most effective process, which can be mainly explained by the larger production of homogeneous and heterogeneous OH and the photodegradation of the complexes formed between iron and organics. The effect of applied current and catalyst concentration on HPEF performance was assessed. Recycling experiments showed a long-term stability of chalcopyrite. Seven initial aromatics and six cyclic by-products of cephalexin were identified, and a plausible degradation route that also includes five final carboxylic acids is proposed.
2022 - Avenida Brasil 2162, Valparaíso, en la Facultad de Ingeniería de la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso.