A recent study conducted by PROTECT’s Project 5 developed a cost-effective and simple approach to improving the electrochemical production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), which is crucial for the treatment of contaminated groundwater. The study, published by Electrochimica Acta, evaluated Rates of H2O2 electrogeneration by reduction of anodic O2 at RVC foam cathodes in batch and flow-through cells.

Contamination of groundwater by toxic and persistent organic contaminants has been a global environmental concern for many years, and effective remediation technology is still a challenge. There are technologies that are in the process of being developed as a means of addressing this public health challenge. Electro-Fenton (EF) process is known as one of the most promising electrochemical remediation technologies developed to address groundwater contamination in 20 years. Unfortunately, EF process relies on the in situ production of H2O2, which requires an external O2 supply, low O2 utilization efficiency (<0.1%), and water pH adjustment. This process can be costly and impractical for full-scale application.

To overcome these drawbacks, the published work examines the feasibility of electrochemical flow-through cell for in situ H2O2 production with external O2 supply and pH adjustment. Reticulated vitreous carbon foam (RVC foam) and Ti/mixed metal oxides (Ti/MMO) are used as cathode and anode, respectively. Both electrodes used in this study are commercially available and can be reused many times. Samples were taken from different positions of the cell to determine H2O2 concentration, pH value, and dissolved oxygen (DO).

This work found that current, flow rate, and cell configuration all impact H2O2 production. Moreover, the optimal operation conditions such as current intensity, flow rate, and electrode sequence are proposed and optimized in this work. In comparison to previous research, the system supports in situ H2O2 production without external O2 supply and pH adjustment. The results of this work will be helpful for future development of flow-through cells with higher current efficiency on in situ H2O2 production for groundwater remediation.

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