Assessment of the use of red mud as a catalyst for photodegradation of bisphenol A in wastewater treatment

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study aimed to investigate the use of red mud (RM) – a byproduct of aluminum production, as a photocatalyst, which was characterized physical-chemically and used in the photodegradation of the target compound bisphenol A (BPA). Chemical processing was performed in the RM (acid treatment, chemical reduction and calcination) to verify the most active catalyst. From the results obtained, a complete degradation kinetics of BPA was carried out using a synthetic matrix (BPA in deionized water) and a real matrix (BPA in wastewater) using natural RM/calcined and TiO2 for comparison. The results indicated the potential use of the RM/calcined, which was able to degrade between 88 and 100% of the pollutant in a synthetic sample. Tests on a real effluent sample resulted in degradation rates that ranged from 59 to 100% with chemical oxygen demand reductions of up to 23% using natural RM/calcined in comparison to TiO2. The blank system (irradiation of the solution without the use of a photocatalyst) and the natural RM/calcined one, resulted in reductions of the toxicity in the effluent sample (measured by EC20 using the marine bacteria Vibrio fischeri) of about 12 times, whereas the same treatment using TiO2 resulted in a toxicity reduction of only seven times. Within these results, the RM/calcined showed potential to be used in wastewater treatment in polishing processes.

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