Bio-Electro-Fenton process for the degradation of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in wastewater

Helena Nadais , Xiaohu Li, Nadine Alves , Cátia Couras , Henrik Rasmus Andersen, Irini Angelidaki, Yifeng Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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    Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) are ubiquitous municipal wastewater pollutants of which several are resistant to degradation in conventional wastewater treatment, and represent a major environmental health concern worldwide. An alternative treatment, the bio-electro-Fenton process, has received increasing attention in past years. In this process the strong oxidant •HO is formed using the electrons derived from bacterial oxidation of organic substrate. In this work, a laboratory scale microbial electrolysis cell based bio-electro-Fenton process was developed for the treatment of four different NSAIDs. The system was demonstrated to remove low concentration NSAIDs from water and wastewater and all tested parameters (cathode pH, cathode air-flow, cathode Fe2+ concentration, applied voltage, NSAIDs concentration and reaction time) were found to affect the apparent first order rate constant and removal efficiency for NSAIDs. Optimum parameter values were found to be pH = 2, Fe+2 = 7.5 mM, air-flow = 8 mL min-1, applied voltage = 0.3 V; the apparent rate constant was higher for higher NSAIDs initial concentration. For reaction times of 5 hours removal efficiencies were 59%-61% for Ketoprofen, 87%-97% for Diclofenac, 80%-86% for Ibuprofen and 75%-81% for Naproxen. Prolonged reaction times lead to substantial increase in removal efficiencies for Ketoprofen and Naproxen. Finally results obtained with real wastewater show lower removal rate constants than with distilled water matrices suggesting interference from wastewater components in the NSAIDs oxidation process. The results offer insight into future developments of an efficient platform for wastewater treatment technology targeting micropollutants.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalChemical Engineering Journal
    Pages (from-to)401-410
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Emerging pollutants
    • NSAIDs
    • Bio-electro-Fenton
    • Kinetics
    • Wastewater
    • Optimization


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