Carbonaceous cathode materials for electro-Fenton technology: Mechanism, kinetics, recent advances, opportunities and challenges

Keerthi M. Nair, Vignesh Kumaravel, Suresh C. Pillai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Electro-Fenton (EF) technique has gained significant attention in recent years owing to its high efficiency and environmental compatibility for the degradation of organic pollutants and contaminants of emerging concern (CECs). The efficiency of an EF reaction relies primarily on the formation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) via 2e oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) and the generation of hydroxyl radicals (OH). This could be achieved through an efficient cathode material which operates over a wide pH range (pH 3–9). Herein, the current progresses on the advancements of carbonaceous cathode materials for EF reactions are comprehensively reviewed. The insights of various materials such as, activated carbon fibres (ACFs), carbon/graphite felt (CF/GF), carbon nanotubes (CNTs), graphene, carbon aerogels (CAs), ordered mesoporous carbon (OMCs), etc. are discussed inclusively. Transition metals and hetero atoms were used as dopants to enhance the efficiency of homogeneous and heterogeneous EF reactions. Iron-functionalized cathodes widened the working pH window (pH 1–9) and limited the energy consumption. The mechanism, reactor configuration, and kinetic models, are explained. Techno economic analysis of the EF reaction revealed that the anode and the raw materials contributed significantly to the overall cost. It is concluded that most reactions follow pseudo-first order kinetics and rotating cathodes provide the best H2O2 production efficiency in lab scale. The challenges, future prospects and commercialization of EF reaction for wastewater treatment are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129325
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • AOP
  • Carbon
  • Fenton
  • Kinetic models
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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