Solar photoelectro-Fenton degradation of the herbicide 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid optimized by response surface methodology

Sergi Garcia-Segura, Lucio Cesar Almeida, Nerilso Bocchi, Enric Brillas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

63 Scopus citations


A central composite rotatable design and response surface methodology (RSM) were used to optimize the experimental variables of the solar photoelectro-Fenton (SPEF) treatment of the herbicide 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA). The experiments were made with a flow plant containing a Pt/air-diffusion reactor coupled to a solar compound parabolic collector (CPC) under recirculation of 10L of 186mgL-1 MCPA solutions in 0.05M Na2SO4 at a liquid flow rate of 180Lh-1 with an average UV irradiation intensity of about 32Wm-2. The optimum variables found for the SPEF process were 5.0A, 1.0mM Fe2+ and pH 3.0 after 120min of electrolysis. Under these conditions, 75% of mineralization with 71% of current efficiency and 87.7kWhkg-1 TOC of energy consumption were obtained. MCPA decayed under the attack of generated hydroxyl radicals following a pseudo-first-order kinetics. Hydroxyl radicals also destroyed 4-chloro-2-methylphenol, methylhydroquinone and methyl-p-benzoquinone detected as aromatic by-products. Glycolic, maleic, fumaric, malic, succinic, tartronic, oxalic and formic acids were identified as generated carboxylic acids, which form Fe(III) complexes that are quickly photodecarboxylated by the UV irradiation of sunlight at the CPC photoreactor. A reaction sequence for the SPEF degradation of MCPA was proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-118
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
StatePublished - Oct 30 2011
Externally publishedYes



  • Central composite rotatable design
  • Herbicides
  • Oxidation products
  • Response surface methodology
  • Solar photoelectro-Fenton

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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