Heterogeneous photo-Fenton degradation of phenolic aqueous solutions
A novel iron-containing mesostructured material has been successfully tested for the heterogeneous photo-Fenton degradation of phenolic aqueous solutions using near UV-visible irradiation (higher than 313 nm) at room temperature and close to neutral pH. This catalyst is a composite material that contains crystalline hematite particles embedded into the mesostructured SBA-15 matrix in a wide distribution of size (30 ¿ 300 nm) and well dispersed ionic iron species within the siliceous framework. The outstanding physicochemical properties make this material a promising photocatalyst leading to better activity than other unsupported iron oxides. An experimental design model has been applied to assign the weight of catalyst and hydrogen peroxide concentrations in the photo-Fenton processes over this particular material. The catalytic performance has been monitored in terms of aromatics and total organic carbon (TOC) conversions, whereas the catalyst stability was evaluated according to the metal leached into the aqueous solution. Hydrogen peroxide concentration plays an important role in the stability of the iron species, preventing their leaching out into the solution, in contrast to the effect shown in typical dark Fenton reaction. The homogeneous leached iron species result in very little contribution to the overall photocatalysis process. Catalyst loadings of 0.5 g/L and concentration of hydrogen peroxide close to the stoichiometric amount have yielded a total abatement of phenol and a remarkable organic mineralization.
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