Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 22, Issue 20, pp 15812–15820 | Cite as

Enhanced hydroxyl radical generation in the combined ozonation and electrolysis process using carbon nanotubes containing gas diffusion cathode

  • Donghai Wu
  • Guanghua LuEmail author
  • Ran Zhang
  • Qiuhong Lin
  • Zhenhua Yan
  • Jianchao Liu
  • Yi Li
Research Article


Combination of ozone together with electrolysis (ozone-electrolysis) is a promising wastewater treatment technology. This work investigated the potential use of carbon nanotube (CNT)-based gas diffusion cathode (GDC) for ozone-electrolysis process employing hydroxyl radicals (·OH) production as an indicator. Compared with conventional active carbon (AC)-polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and carbon black (CB)-PTFE cathodes, the production of ·OH in the coupled process was improved using CNTs-PTFE GDC. Appropriate addition of acetylene black (AB) and pore-forming agent Na2SO4 could enhance the efficiency of CNTs-PTFE GDC. The optimum GDC composition was obtained by response surface methodology (RSM) analysis and was determined as CNTs 31.2 wt%, PTFE 60.6 wt%, AB 3.5 wt%, and Na2SO4 4.7 wt%. Moreover, the optimized CNT-based GDC exhibited much more effective than traditional Ti and graphite cathodes in Acid Orange 7 (AO7) mineralization and possessed the desirable stability without performance decay after ten times reaction. The comparison tests revealed that peroxone reaction was the main pathway of ·OH production in the present system, and cathodic reduction of ozone could significantly promote ·OH generation. These results suggested that application of CNT-based GDC offers considerable advantages in ozone-electrolysis of organic wastewater.


Ozone-electrolysis Gas diffusion cathode Carbon nanotubes Hydroxyl radicals Response surface methodology 



Acetylene black


Active carbon


Advanced oxidation processes


Acid Orange 7


Analysis of variances


Box-Behnken design


Carbon black


Carbon nanotubes


Coefficient of variation




Gas diffusion cathode




Hydroxyl radicals


p-Chlorobenzoic acid




Coefficient of determination


Response surface methodology


Scanning electron microscopy


Total organic carbon



We are grateful for grants from Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20130835), China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2013 M541600), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of Hohai University (No. 2013B13020026), and A Project Funded by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions.

Supplementary material

11356_2015_4783_MOESM1_ESM.doc (74 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 74 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donghai Wu
    • 1
  • Guanghua Lu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ran Zhang
    • 2
  • Qiuhong Lin
    • 1
  • Zhenhua Yan
    • 1
  • Jianchao Liu
    • 1
  • Yi Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Integrated Regulation and Resource Development on Shallow Lakes of Ministry of Education, College of EnvironmentHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Urban Water Resource and EnvironmentHarbin Institute of TechnologyHarbinChina

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