Electrochemical treatment of olive mill wastewaters: Removal of phenolic compounds and decolourization
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Olive mill wastewaters (OMW) characterized by their dark brown colour and their very high content of phenolic compounds constitute an environmental concern, particularly in Mediterranean countries where the production of olive oil is important. In this investigation, OMW were electrolyzed at platinized expanded titanium electrodes in a modified Grignard reactor divided into two cylindrical compartments separated by a cation-exchange membrane. Results show better than 90% decolourization and nearly 85% removal of phenols, as established by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, at high current intensity. This process can easily be monitored by cyclic voltammetry at a boron-doped diamond electrode. A significant reduction of chemical oxygen demand and total organic carbon was observed. The electrodes are not passivated and the ohmic potential drop is very low. Electrochemical oxidation in a modified Grignard reactor is a promising process for the destruction of phenolic compounds present in OMW.
Keywordsdecolourization electrochemical oxidation olive mill wastewater phenols
This work was financed by Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie. The authors are indebted to Dr John S. Lomas (Univ. Paris 7) for helpful discussions and for correcting the English.
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