Sustainable and Reagentless Fenton Treatment of Complex Wastewater

Guan Wang, Kai Tang, Adam C. Hambly, Yifeng Zhang*, Henrik Rasmus Andersen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Conventional Fenton treatment is fundamentally impractical for large-scale applications, as the consumption of Fe(II), H2O2, and pH regulators and the accumulation of iron hydroxide sludge are very costly. This paper describes a new method for Fenton treatment of complex wastewater without additional dosing of Fe(II) and H2O2, without iron-sludge accumulation, and with less consumption of pH regulators, using a novel bioelectrode system. Our new system includes a novel three-chamber microbial electrolysis unit and Fenton reaction unit, where Fenton reagents are generated by biotic and abiotic cathodes, while the bioanode simultaneously degrades biodegradable organics from the wastewater. The system's self-alkalinity buffering also waives the need for pH regulators. Dissolved organic carbon and 22 specific recalcitrant organics were removed by 99% and between 78 and 100%, respectively. The bioelectrode system generated 13 ± 3 mg/L dissolved Fe(II) and 5 ± 0.4 mg/L H2O2 for the Fenton reaction unit. The closed iron cycle avoided iron loss and iron sludge accumulation during operation. The pH regulator dosage and operating costs were just 9.7 and 1.4%, respectively, of what is required by classic Fenton. The low operating cost and reduction in chemical usage make it an efficient, sustainable alternative to the conventional treatment processes currently used for complex wastewater.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)626-634
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Iron cycle
  • Fenton oxidation
  • Waste-to-resource
  • Recycling
  • Sustainability


Dive into the research topics of 'Sustainable and Reagentless Fenton Treatment of Complex Wastewater'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this