This work focuses on the evaluation of the degradation of 17β-estradiol in a mixture of synthetic urine and methanol, trying to determine in which conditions the hormone can be more easily degraded than the urine compounds. This is in the frame of an overall study in which the pre-concentration stage with adsorption/desorption technology is evaluated to improve electrolysis efficiency. Results show that this pollutant can be efficiently removed from mixtures of urine/methanol by electrolysis with diamond electrodes. This removal is simultaneous with the removal of uric acid (used as a model of natural pollutants of urine) and leads to the formation of other organic species that behave as intermediates. This opens the possibility of using a concentration strategy based on the adsorption of pollutants using granular activated carbon and their later desorption in methanol. Despite methanol being a hydroxyl radical scavenger, the electrolysis is found to be very efficient and, in the best case, current charges lower than 7 kAh·m−3
were enough to completely deplete the hormone from urine. Increases in the operation current density lead to faster but less efficient removal of the 17β-estradiol, while increases in the operation flowrate do not markedly affect the efficiency in the removal. Degradation of 17β-estradiol is favored with respect to that of uric acid at low current densities and at high flowrates. In those conditions, direct oxidation processes on the surface of the anode are encouraged. This means that these direct processes can have a higher influence on the degradability of the hazardous species and opens the possibility for the development of selective oxidation processes, with a great economic impact on the degradation of the hazardousness of hospitalary wastewater.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited