Efficient H2O2 electrogeneration at graphite felt modified via electrode polarity reversal: Utilization for organic pollutants degradation.Chem Eng J. 2019 May 15; 364:428-439.CE
Electrochemical synthesis of H2O2 offers a great potential for water treatment. However, a significant challenge is the development of efficient cathode materials for the process. Herein, we implement a practical electrochemical cathode modification to support efficient H2O2 electrogeneration via the reduction of dissolved anodic O2. Graphite felt (GF) is in situ anodically modified by electrode polarity reversal technique in an acid-free, low-conductivity electrolyte. The modified GF exhibits a significantly higher activity towards O2 reduction. Up to 183.3% higher H2O2 yield is obtained by the anodized GF due to the increased concentrations of oxygen-containing groups and the hydrophilicity of the surface, which facilitates electron and mass transfer between GF and the electrolyte. Another significant finding is the ability to produce H2O2 at a high yield under neutral pH and low current intensity by the modified GF (35% of the charge need to produce the same amount by unmodified GF). Long-term stability testing of the modified GF showed a decay in the electrode's activity for H2O2 production after 30 consecutive applications. However, the electrode regained its optimal activity for H2O2 production after a secondary modification by electrode polarity reversal. Finally, in situ electrochemically modified GF is more effective for removal of reactive blue 19 (RB19, 20 mg/L) and ibuprofen (IBP, 10 mg/L) by the electro-Fenton process. The modified GF removed 62.7% of RB19 compared to only 28.1% by the unmodified GF in batch reactors after 50 min. Similarly, 75.3% IBP is removed by the modified GF compared to 57.6% by the unmodified GF in a flow-through reactor after 100 min.