The role of activated carbon as a catalyst in GAC/iron oxide/H2O2 oxidation process

Altai Bach*, Raphael Semiat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The catalytic properties of granular activated carbon (GAC) in GAC/iron oxide/hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) system was investigated in this research. Batch experiments were carried out in de-ionized water at the desired concentrations of ethylene glycol and phenol. Rate constants for the degradation of hydrogen peroxide and the formation rate of iron species were determined and correlated with mineralization of ethylene glycol at various GAC concentrations. The observed first order degradation rate of hydrogen peroxide in the absence of iron oxide and organic matter increases linearity with the increasing of the GAC concentration. The decomposition rate of hydrogen peroxide was suppressed significantly as the solution pH became acidic or by reducing the surface area of the GAC. The reduction of the surface area was obtained by loading an organic compound (such as phenol) on the GAC or by using the oxidizing agent (H2O2). The addition of both chemicals, phenol and H2O2, affects mainly the surface area of the small pores, resulting in reducing the catalytic activity inside the micropores. The catalytic properties of the GAC were used to accelerate the formation rate of the ferrous ions, which is known in the literature to be the limiting rate reaction in the classic Fenton like reagent. It was shown that the ethylene glycol mineralization rate was increased by more than 50%.Finally, optimization of the GAC consumption leading to the fastest mineralization of the ethylene glycol, resulting in decreasing of the decomposition rate of H2O2 while enhancing the generation rate of ferrous ions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Catalysis
  • Fenton process
  • Granular activated carbon
  • Hydrogen peroxide


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