, Volume 185, Issue 7, pp 5789-5800
Date: 16 Nov 2012

Degradation of palm oil refinery wastewaters by non-thermal gliding arc discharge at atmospheric pressure

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The gliding electric discharge in humid air is a source of activated species forming (e.g. OH, NO and their derivatives H2O2, ONO2H and NO3H) which are present in a non-thermal plasma at atmospheric pressure. These species are able to degrade organic pollutants in palm oil refinery wastewaters (PORW). The increase in acidity (pH decrease), conductivity and total dissolved solids (TDS) and the decrease in the total organic carbon (TOC) of PORW samples exposed to the discharge are reported. More than 50 % TOC abatement is obtained for 15 min treatment in batch conditions with a laboratory reactor. The organic pollutants of PORW, i.e. mainly fatty acids are degraded according to a pseudo first-order reaction (k* = 0.06 min−1). Post discharge reactions are also observed after having switched off the discharge, which suggests that the pseudo first-order (k ≈ 0.05 min−1) degradation reactions should be attributed to the diffusion of soluble reactive species, e.g. H2O2 and ONOOH in the liquid target.