Iron immobilized on supports such as silica, alumina, titanium oxide, and zeolite can activate hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into strong oxidants. However, the role of the support and the nature of the oxidants produced in this process remain elusive. This study investigated the activation of H2O2 by a TiO2-supported catalyst (FeTi-ox). Characterizing the catalyst surface in situ using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS), together with X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), revealed that the interaction between H2O2 and the TiO2 phase played a key role in the H2O2 activation. This interaction generated a stable peroxo-titania Fe(III)-Ti-OOH complex, which reacted further with H2O to produce a surface oxidant, likely Fe[IV] = O2+. The oxidant effectively degraded acetaminophen, even in the presence of chloride, bicarbonate, and organic matter. Unexpectedly, contaminant oxidation continued after the H2O2 in the solution was depleted, owing to the decomposition of Fe(III)-Ti-OOH by water. In addition, the FeTi-ox catalyst effectively degraded acetaminophen over five testing cycles. Overall, new insights gained in this study may provide a basis for designing more effective catalysts for H2O2 activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Chemistry