Heterogeneous Electro-Fenton Process: Principles and Applications

  • P. V. NidheeshEmail author
  • H. Olvera-Vargas
  • N. Oturan
  • M. A. Oturan
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 61)


Electro-Fenton (EF) process has received much attention among the various advanced oxidation process, due to its higher contaminant removal and mineralization efficiencies, simplicity in operation, in situ generation of hydrogen peroxide, etc. Heterogeneous EF process rectifies some of the drawbacks of conventional EF process by using solid catalyst for the generation of reactive hydroxyl radicals in water medium. The efficiency of various heterogeneous EF catalysts such as iron oxides, pyrite, iron supported on zeolite, carbon, alginate beads, etc. was tested by various researchers. All of these catalysts are insoluble in water; and most of them are stable and reusable in nature. Depending on the iron leaching characteristics, hydroxyl radicals are generated either in the solution or over the catalyst surface. Catalysts with higher leaching characteristics exhibit the first radical generation mechanism, while the stable catalyst with insignificant leaching exhibits the second radical generation mechanism. Adsorption of the pollutant over the surface of the catalyst also enhances the pollutant degradation. Overall, heterogeneous EF process is very potent, powerful, and useful for the pollutant decontamination from the water medium.


Advanced oxidation process Electro-Fenton Heterogeneous EF Hydroxyl radicals Solid catalyst Water treatment 


  1. 1.
    Oturan MA, Pinson J (1995) Hydroxylation by electrochemically generated OH radicals. Mono – and polyhydroxylation of benzoic acid: products and isomers distribution. J Phys Chem 99:13948–13954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Oturan MA, Peiroten J, Chartrin P, Acher AJ (2000) Complete destruction of p-nitrophenol in aqueous medium by electro-Fenton method. Environ Sci Technol 34:3474–3479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Oturan MA (2000) Ecologically effective water treatment technique using electrochemically generated hydroxyl radicals for in situ destruction of organic pollutants: application to herbicide 2,4-D. J Appl Electrochem 30:475–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brillas E, Mur E, Casado J (1996) Iron(II) catalysis of the mineralization of aniline using a carbon-PTFE O 2 - Fed cathode. J Electrochem Soc 143:L49–L53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brillas E, Calpe JC, Casado J (2000) Mineralization of 2,4-D by advanced electrochemical oxidation processes. Water Res 34:2253–2262CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Oturan MA, Oturan N, Lahitte C, Trevin S (2001) Production of hydroxyl radicals by electrochemically assisted Fenton’s reagent: application to the mineralization of an organic micropollutant, pentachlorophenol. J Electroanal Chem 507:96–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Nidheesh PV, Gandhimathi R (2012) Trends in electro-Fenton process for water and wastewater treatment: an overview. Desalination 299:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Nidheesh PV, Gandhimathi R, Sanjini NS (2014) NaHCO3 enhanced Rhodamine B removal from aqueous solution by graphite-graphite electro Fenton system. Sep Purif Technol 132:568–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nidheesh PV, Gandhimathi R, Ramesh ST (2013) Degradation of dyes from aqueous solution by Fenton processes: a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20:2099–2132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    El-Desoky HS, Ghoneim MM, El-Sheikh R, Zidan NM (2010) Oxidation of Levafix CA reactive azo-dyes in industrial wastewater of textile dyeing by electro-generated Fenton’s reagent. J Hazard Mater 175:858–865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Oturan MA, Aaron J-J (2014) Advanced oxidation processes in water/wastewater treatment: principles and applications. A review. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 44:2577–2641CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Brillas E, Sirés I, Oturan MA (2009) Electro-Fenton process and related electrochemical technologies based on Fenton’s reaction chemistry. Chem Rev 109:6570–6631CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Pignatello JJ, Oliveros E, MacKay A (2006) Advanced oxidation processes for organic contaminant destruction based on the Fenton reaction and related chemistry. Crit Rev Environ Sci Technol 36:1–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Neyens E, Baeyens J (2003) A review of classic Fenton’s peroxidation as an advanced oxidation technique. J Hazard Mater 98:33–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Benefield LD, Judkins JF, Weand BL (1982) Process chemistry for water and wastewater treatment. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wells CF, Salam MA (1965) Hydrolysis of ferrous ions: a kinetic method for the determination of the Fe(II) species. Nature 205:690–692CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wells CF, Salam MA (1968) The effect of pH on the kinetics of the reaction of iron(II) with hydrogen peroxide in perchlorate media. J Chem Soc A Inorganic Phys Theor 24–29Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Magario I, García Einschlag FS, Rueda EH et al (2012) Mechanisms of radical generation in the removal of phenol derivatives and pigments using different Fe-based catalytic systems. J Mol Catal A Chem 352:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hammouda SB, Fourcade F, Assadi A et al (2016) Effective heterogeneous electro-Fenton process for the degradation of a malodorous compound, indole, using iron loaded alginate beads as a reusable catalyst. Appl Catal B Environ 182:47–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Nidheesh PV, Gandhimathi R, Velmathi S, Sanjini NS (2014) Magnetite as a heterogeneous electro Fenton catalyst for the removal of Rhodamine B from aqueous solution. RSC Adv 4:5698–5708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Costa RCC, Lelis MFF, Oliveira LC et al (2006) Novel active heterogeneous Fenton system based on Fe3-xMxO4 (Fe, Co, Mn, Ni): the role of M2+ species on the reactivity towards H2O2 reactions. J Hazard Mater 129:171–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Nidheesh PV (2015) Heterogeneous Fenton catalysts for the abatement of organic pollutants from aqueous solution: a review. RSC Adv 5:40552–40577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Munoz M, de Pedro ZM, Casas JA, Rodriguez JJ (2015) Preparation of magnetite-based catalysts and their application in heterogeneous Fenton oxidation – a review. Appl Catal B Environ 176–177:249–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Rahim Pouran S, Abdul Raman AA, Wan Daud WMA (2014) Review on the application of modified iron oxides as heterogeneous catalysts in Fenton reactions. J Clean Prod 64:24–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Dhakshinamoorthy A, Navalon S, Alvaro M, Garcia H (2012) Metal nanoparticles as heterogeneous Fenton catalysts. ChemSusChem 5:46–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nidheesh PV, Gandhimathi R (2014) Comparative removal of Rhodamine B from aqueous solution by electro-Fenton and electro-Fenton-like processes. Clean Soil Air Water 42(6):779–784CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Sun Y-P, Li X, Cao J et al (2006) Characterization of zero-valent iron nanoparticles. Adv Colloid Interf Sci 120:47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Babuponnusami A, Muthukumar K (2012) Removal of phenol by heterogenous photo electro Fenton-like process using nano-zero valent iron. Sep Purif Technol 98:130–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    George SJ, Gandhimathi R, Nidheesh PV, Ramesh ST (2014) Electro-fenton oxidation of salicylic acid from aqueous solution: batch studies and degradation pathway. Clean Soil Air Water 42(12):1701–1711CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Bonnissel-Gissinger P, Alnot M, Ehrhardt JJ, Behra P (1998) Surface oxidation of pyrite as a function of pH. Environ Sci Technol 32:2839–2845CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Pham HT, Kitsuneduka M, Hara J et al (2008) Trichloroethylene transformation by natural mineral pyrite: the deciding role of oxygen. Environ Sci Technol 42:7470–7475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Bae S, Kim D, Lee W (2013) Degradation of diclofenac by pyrite catalyzed Fenton oxidation. Appl Catal B Environ 134–135:93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Che H, Bae S, Lee W (2011) Degradation of trichloroethylene by Fenton reaction in pyrite suspension. J Hazard Mater 185:1355–1361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Choi K, Bae S, Lee W (2014) Degradation of pyrene in cetylpyridinium chloride-aided soil washing wastewater by pyrite Fenton reaction. Chem Eng J 249:34–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Choi K, Bae S, Lee W (2014) Degradation of off-gas toluene in continuous pyrite Fenton system. J Hazard Mater 280:31–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Labiadh L, Oturan MA, Panizza M et al (2015) Complete removal of AHPS synthetic dye from water using new electro-fenton oxidation catalyzed by natural pyrite as heterogeneous catalyst. J Hazard Mater 297:34–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Brillas E, Martínez-Huitle CA (2015) Decontamination of wastewaters containing synthetic organic dyes by electrochemical methods. An updated review. Appl Catal B Environ 166:603–643CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Sopaj F, Oturan N, Pinson J et al (2016) Effect of the anode materials on the efficiency of the electro-Fenton process for the mineralization of the antibiotic sulfamethazine. Appl Catal B Environ 199:331–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Barhoumi N, Oturan N, Olvera-Vargas H et al (2016) Pyrite as a sustainable catalyst in electro-Fenton process for improving oxidation of sulfamethazine. Kinetics, mechanism and toxicity assessment. Water Res 94:52–61CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Barhoumi N, Labiadh L, Oturan MA et al (2015) Electrochemical mineralization of the antibiotic levofloxacin by electro-Fenton-pyrite process. Chemosphere 141:250–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Ammar S, Oturan MA, Labiadh L et al (2015) Degradation of tyrosol by a novel electro-Fenton process using pyrite as heterogeneous source of iron catalyst. Water Res 74:77–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Nidheesh PV, Gandhimathi R (2014) Effect of solution pH on the performance of three electrolytic advanced oxidation processes for the treatment of textile wastewater and sludge characteristics. RSC Adv 4:27946–27954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Iglesias O, Rosales E, Pazos M, Sanromán MA (2013) Electro-Fenton decolourisation of dyes in an airlift continuous reactor using iron alginate beads. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20:2252–2261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Fernández de Dios MÁ, Rosales E, Fernández-Fernández M et al (2015) Degradation of organic pollutants by heterogeneous electro-Fenton process using Mn-alginate composite. J Chem Technol Biotechnol 90:1439–1447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Nidheesh PV, Rajan R (2016) Removal of rhodamine B from a water medium using hydroxyl and sulphate radicals generated by iron loaded activated carbon. RSC Adv 6:5330–5340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Bounab L, Iglesias O, Gonzalez-Romero E et al (2015) Effective heterogeneous electro-Fenton process of m-cresol with iron loaded activated carbon. RSC Adv 5:31049–31056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Zhang C, Zhou M, Ren G et al (2015) Heterogeneous electro-Fenton using modified iron-carbon as catalyst for 2,4-dichlorophenol degradation: influence factors, mechanism and degradation pathway. Water Res 70:414–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Iglesias O, de Dios MAF, Tavares T et al (2015) Heterogeneous electro-Fenton treatment: preparation, characterization and performance in groundwater pesticide removal. J Ind Eng Chem 27:276–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Iglesias O, Fernández de Dios MA, Pazos M, Sanromán MA (2013) Using iron-loaded sepiolite obtained by adsorption as a catalyst in the electro-Fenton oxidation of reactive black 5. Environ Sci Pollut Res 20:5983–5993CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Lin S-S, Gurol MD (1998) Catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide on iron oxide: kinetics, mechanism, and implications. Environ Sci Technol 32:1417–1423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Andreozzi R, Caprio V, Marotta R (2002) Oxidation of 3,4-dihydroxybenzoic acid by means of hydrogen peroxide in aqueous goethite slurry. Water Res 36:2761–2768CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. V. Nidheesh
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Olvera-Vargas
    • 2
  • N. Oturan
    • 2
  • M. A. Oturan
    • 2
  1. 1.CSIR-National Environmental Engineering Research InstituteNagpurIndia
  2. 2.Laboratoire Géomatériaux et EnvironnementUniversité Paris-EstMarne-la-ValléeFrance

Personalised recommendations