A three-electrode column for Pd-catalytic oxidation of TCE in groundwater with automatic pH-regulation and resistance to reduced sulfur compound foiling

Songhu Yuan, Mingjie Chen, Xuhui Mao, Akram N. Alshawabkeh

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38 Citations (Scopus)


A hybrid electrolysis and Pd-catalytic oxidation process is evaluated for degradation of trichloroethylene (TCE) in groundwater. A three-electrode, one anode and two cathodes, column is employed to automatically develop a low pH condition in the Pd vicinity and a neutral effluent. Simulated groundwater containing up to 5 mM bicarbonate can be acidified to below pH 4 in the Pd vicinity using a total of 60 mA with 20 mA passing through the third electrode. By packing 2 g of Pd/Al2O3 pellets in the developed acidic region, the column efficiency for TCE oxidation in simulated groundwater (5.3 mg/L TCE) increases from 44 to 59 and 68% with increasing Fe(II) concentration from 0 to 5 and 10 mg/L, respectively. Different from Pd-catalytic hydrodechlorination under reducing conditions, this hybrid electrolysis and Pd-catalytic oxidation process is advantageous in controlling the fouling caused by reduced sulfur compounds (RSCs) because the in situ generated reactive oxidizing species, i.e., O2, H2O2 and OH, can oxidize RSCs to some extent. In particular, sulfite at concentrations less than 1 mM even greatly increases TCE oxidation by the production of SO4 •-, a strong oxidizing radical, and more OH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-278
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2013



  • Electrolytic
  • Groundwater remediation
  • Pd
  • Reduced sulfur compounds
  • TCE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Ecological Modelling

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