Multilayer Heterojunction Anodes for Saline Wastewater Treatment: Design Strategies and Reactive Species Generation Mechanisms

Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Aug 16;50(16):8780-7. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.6b00688. Epub 2016 Jul 26.


Multilayer heterojunction SbSn/CoTi/Ir anodes, which consist of Ir0.7Ta0.3O2 bottom layers coated onto a titanium base, Co-TiO2 interlayers, and overcoated discrete Sb-SnO2 islands, were prepared by spray pyrolysis. The Ir0.7Ta0.3O2 bottom layer serves as an Ohmic contact to facilitate electron transfer from semiconductor layers to the Ti base. The Co-TiO2 interlayer and overcoated Sb-SnO2 islands enhance the evolution of reactive chlorine. The surficial Sb-SnO2 islands also serve as the reactive sites for free radical generation. Experiments coupled with computational kinetic simulations show that while ·OH and Cl· are initially produced on the SbSn/CoTi/Ir anode surface, the dominant radical formed in solution is the dichlorine radical anion, Cl2·(-). The steady-state concentration of reactive radicals is 10 orders of magnitude lower than that of reactive chlorine. The SbSn/CoTi/Ir anode was applied to electrochemically treat human wastewater. These test results show that COD and NH4(+) can be removed after 2 h of electrolysis with minimal energy consumption (370 kWh/kg COD and 383 kWh/kg NH4(+)). Although free radical species contribute to COD removal, anodes designed to enhance reactive chlorine production are more effective than those designed to enhance free radical production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electrodes
  • Electrolysis
  • Oxidation-Reduction*
  • Titanium / chemistry
  • Waste Water / chemistry*


  • Waste Water
  • Titanium