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Modular Advanced Oxidation Process Enabled by Cathodic Hydrogen Peroxide Production

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Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is frequently used in combination with ultraviolet (UV) light to treat trace organic contaminants in advanced oxidation processes (AOPs). In small-scale applications, such as wellhead and point-of-entry water treatment systems, the need to maintain a stock solution of concentrated H2O2 increases the operational cost and complicates the operation of AOPs. To avoid the need for replenishing a stock solution of H2O2, a gas diffusion electrode was used to generate low concentrations of H2O2 directly in the water prior to its exposure to UV light. Following the AOP, the solution was passed through an anodic chamber to lower the solution pH and remove the residual H2O2. The effectiveness of the technology was evaluated using a suite of trace contaminants that spanned a range of reactivity with UV light and hydroxyl radical (HO(•)) in three different types of source waters (i.e., simulated groundwater, simulated surface water, and municipal wastewater effluent) as well as a sodium chloride solution. Irrespective of the source water, the system produced enough H2O2 to treat up to 120 L water d(-1). The extent of transformation of trace organic contaminants was affected by the current density and the concentrations of HO(•) scavengers in the source water. The electrical energy per order (EEO) ranged from 1 to 3 kWh m(-3), with the UV lamp accounting for most of the energy consumption. The gas diffusion electrode exhibited high efficiency for H2O2 production over extended periods and did not show a diminution in performance in any of the matrices.

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