FURI | Summer 2022

Removal of Acetaminophen from Water Using Electrochemical Analysis

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Active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) are exposed to the environment during their use, manufacturing, and disposal. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), APIs have proven to be detrimental to human health. Thus, API degradation is required to warrant water quality. In-situ chemical oxidation technology has been presented as an alternative for API treatment, these technologies include ozone, photocatalysis, Fenton process, UV radiation, and persulfate-based oxidation processes. Persulfate (PS) activation can produce sulfate radicals, which present high oxidation potential (2.5-3.1 V), wide pH stability range, and a relatively long half-life (t1/2= 30-40 μs). PS activation has been evaluated by UV radiation, heat, metal oxides, and current. In this study, electrochemical persulfate activation was optimized using a three-dimensional electrode. Cu/CuO electrodes were prepared from Cu foam by electrolysis and heat treatment. Optimal conditions for API removal were evaluated using acetaminophen as model at different current densities, persulfate concentrations, initial pH, and acetaminophen concentrations. Acetaminophen removal over time was followed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and PS residual was measured by spectrophotometry. This study for three-dimensional Cu/CuO and electrochemical persulfate activation may provide new insights for practical API removal and its mechanism.

Student researcher

Andrei-Dominic Lunar Regorgo

Environmental engineering

Hometown: Legazpi, Albay, Philippines

Graduation date: Spring 2023

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