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Tungsten-based activated carbon matrix for the catalytic oxidation of model volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and pharmaceutical VOCs from wastewater

  • Carbon Letters
  • Abbr : Carbon Lett.
  • 2023, 33(4), pp.1115-1132
  • DOI : 10.1007/s42823-023-00506-2
  • Publisher : Korean Carbon Society
  • Research Area : Natural Science > Natural Science General > Other Natural Sciences General
  • Received : November 26, 2022
  • Accepted : March 29, 2023
  • Published : June 1, 2023

Natarajan Prabhakaran 1 Chandrababu Prathyusha 1 Karmegam Patchai Murugan 1 Madasamy Jothieswari 1 Somasundaram Swarnalatha 1

1Environmental Science Lab, CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Adyar, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, 600 020, India

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a paramount factor in air pollution of the environment. VOCs are vastly present in the wastewater discharged by the pharmaceutical industries. As it is evaporative in nature, it enters the environment spontaneously and causes air pollution, global warming, acid rain and climate change. VOCs must be treated before discharging or any other aerobic methods using an efficient catalyst. As the catalytic oxidation in the liquid phase is facile compared to the gas phase, this study investigated on catalytic liquid-phase oxidation of VOCs in model and real pharmaceutical wastewater. The model compounds of toluene-, ethylbenzene- and chlorobenzene-contaminated waters were treated separately along with the VOCs present in real pharmaceutical wastewater using a tungsten-based carbon catalyst. The tungsten was impregnated on the low-cost activated carbon matrix as it has good selectivity and catalytic property toward VOCs for facile catalytic operations. The metal catalysts were characterised by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction studies, and scanning electron microscopy with elemental and mapping analysis. The treatability was monitored by total organic carbon, ultra-violet spectroscopy and high-pressure liquid chromatography analysis. The tungsten-impregnated activated carbon matrix (WACM) has a catalytic efficiency toward toluene by 85.45 ± 1.78%, ethylbenzene by 93.9 ± 1.16%, chlorobenzene by 85.9 ± 2.26% and pharmaceutical VOCs by 85.05 ± 1.73% in 20 treatment cycles. The results showed that WACM worked efficiently in VOCs treatment, preventing the environment from air pollution. Furthermore, liquid-phase oxidation could easily be implementable on an industrial scale.

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