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Production and characterization of metal-graphene or graphene oxide nanocomposites for the electrocatalytic production of hydrogen peroxide: application to the degradation of endocrine disrupting chemicals by electrochemical advanced oxidation processes

Grant number: 19/04421-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2019
Effective date (End): September 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering
Principal Investigator:Marcos Roberto de Vasconcelos Lanza
Grantee:Guilherme Vilalba Fortunato
Home Institution: Instituto de Química de São Carlos (IQSC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:17/10118-0 - Study and application of electrochemical technology for the analysis and degradation of endocrine interferents: materials, sensors, processes and scientific dissemination, AP.TEM

Abstract

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) plays a critical role in a huge range of industrial, commercial, and domestic applications, including waste water treatment. Concerning water treatment, technologies based on the in situ electrochemical H2O2 production via the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) represent a clever and ecologically more adequate way to deal with this environmental issue. The treatment is based on the possibility of H2O2 generating highly reactive hydroxyl radicals that will act in the oxidative degradation of organic chemicals such as pesticides and other agents considered as contaminants that promote changes in the human endocrine system and in hormones, namely endocrine disruptors (EDs). However, an obstacle to be faced in the electrochemical production of H2O2 via ORR is the development of efficient catalyst materials that selectively reduce O2 to H2O2. An ideal selective catalyst for ORR toward H2O2 production must have an interaction with O2 sufficiently strong so that the reaction can occur on the catalyst surface without being able to break the intermolecular O=O bond, and without the need of overpotentials. The catalyst performance strongly influences the total cost of electrochemical technology. Despite the recent advances made by the scientific community, the industrial and commercial feasibility to produce H2O2 electrochemically still requires the development of catalysts that demonstrate high selectivity, activity, stability and economic viability. In this sense, this research project has as objective the development of nanocomposite materials of the type metal/carbonic support to act as efficient catalysts for the electrocatalytic production of H2O2 through the ORR and, later, to apply the new materials in electrochemical (and associated) processes for the degradation of EDs.