The wet air oxidation of p-hydroxybenzoic acid, chosen as a model compound of olive mills wastewaters was carried out at 140 °C and 50 bar air over Ru catalysts supported on TiO2 prepared by sol–gel method. These catalysts were characterized by means of N2 adsorption–desorption, XRD and TEM. Optimization of the catalytic performances was obtained by studying some parameters such as the catalyst preparation method, the solvent evacuation way, the nature of the hydrolysis agent, the influence of the ruthenium salt used as the metal precursor (Ru(NO)(NO3)3 or Ru(acac)3) and the catalyst pretreatment. The pre-calcination of the catalyst precursor at 300 °C under oxygen, before the reduction step under hydrogen, was detrimental to the activity. The results showed that the use of nitric acid as hydrolysis agent, drying under supercritical conditions and the use of Ru(NO)(NO3)3 leads to the more efficient catalyst with high TOC abatement.
Ruthenium catalystsMesoporous TiO2Sol–gelCatalytic wet air oxidationp-Hydroxybenzoic acid