Catalytic wet air oxidation of substituted phenols using activated carbon as catalyst

M. Eugenia Suarez-Ojeda, Frank Stüber, Agustí Fortuny, Azael Fabregat, Julián Carrera, Josep Font

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


Continuous catalytic wet air oxidation (CWAO) was investigated as a suitable precursor for the biological treatment of industrial wastewater that contained phenols (phenol, o-cresol, 2-chlorophenol and p-nitrophenol), aniline, sulfolane, nitrobenzene or sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate (DBS). Seventy-two-hour tests were carried out in a fixed bed reactor in trickle flow regime, using a commercial activated carbon (AC) as catalyst. The temperature and total pressure were 140°C and 13.1 bar, respectively. The influence of hydroxyl-, methyl-, chloride-, nitro-, sulfo- and sulfonic-substituents on the oxidation mechanism of aromatic compounds, the occurrence of oxidative coupling reactions over the AC, and the catalytic activity (in terms of substrate elimination) were established. The results show that the AC without any supported active metal behaves bifunctionally as adsorbent and catalyst, and is active enough to oxidate phenol, o-cresol, 2-chlorophenol and DBS, giving conversions between 30 and 55% at the conditions tested. The selectivity to the production of carbon dioxide was considerable with total organic carbon (TOC) abatement between 15 and 50%. The chemical oxygen demand (COD) reduction was between 12 and 45%. In turn, aniline, sulfolane, p-nitrophenol and nitrobenzene conversions were below 5% and there was almost no TOC abatement or COD reduction, which shows the refractory nature of these compounds. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-114
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2005


  • Activated carbon
  • Dodecylbenzene sulfonate
  • Oxidation
  • Substituted phenols
  • Trickle bed


Dive into the research topics of 'Catalytic wet air oxidation of substituted phenols using activated carbon as catalyst'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this