The present work reports the use of sonochemical reactors for the degradation of phenol in the presence of additives with an objective of enhancing the rates of degradation at a pilot scale operation. Process intensification studies have been carried out using additives such as hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) (0.5–2.0 g/L), sodium chloride (0.5–1.5 g/L) and solid particles viz. cupric oxide (CuO) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) (0.5–2.5 g/L). Optimum concentration for H2O2 and sodium chloride has been observed beyond which no beneficial effects are obtained even with additional loadings. Maximum extent of degradation has been observed by using ultrasound/H2O2/CuO approach at a solid loading of 1.5 g/L followed by ultrasound/H2O2/TiO2 approach at a loading of 2.0 g/L. The obtained results at pilot scale operation in the current work are very important especially due to the fact that the majority of earlier studies are at laboratory scale which cannot provide the design related information for large scale operation as required scale up ratios are quite high adding a degree of uncertainty in the design. The novelty of the present work lies in the fact that it highlights successful application of sonochemical reactors for wastewater treatment at pilot scale operation.
Keywords: cavitational reactors, hydrogen peroxide, intensification using additives, phenol degradation, pilot scale operation, ultrasound