Quantifying the efficiency and selectivity of organohalide dechlorination by zerovalent iron†
The efficiency and selectivity of zerovalent iron-based treatments for organohalide contaminated groundwater can be quantified by accounting for redistribution of electrons derived from oxidation of Fe0. Several types of efficiency are reviewed, including (i) the efficiency of Fe(0) utilization, εFe(0), (ii) the electron efficiency of target contaminant reduction, εe, and (iii) the electron efficiency of natural reductant demand (NRD) involving H2O, O2, and co-contaminants such as nitrate, εNRD. Selectivity can then be calculated by using εe/εNRD. Of particular interest is εe and the key to its determination is measuring the total quantity of electrons provided by Fe0 oxidation, which can be based on either the loss of Fe(0), the formation of Fe(II)/Fe(III), or the composition of the total reaction products. Recently, many data have accumulated on εe for the treatment of various chlorinated solvents (esp. trichloroethylene, TCE) by zerovalent iron (ZVI), and analysis of these data shows that ZVI particle properties (e.g., stabilization with polymers, bimetallic modification, sulfidation, etc.) and other operational factors have variable effects on εe. Of particular interest is that pre-exposure of ZVI to reduced sulfur species (i.e., sulfidation) consistently improves the εe of contaminant reduction, mainly by suppressing the reduction of water.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Recent Open Access Articles, Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts: Recent Review Articles and Halogenated (semi)volatile organic compounds (“X(S)VOCs”)