Catalytic consequences of charge-balancing cations in zeolite during photo-Fenton oxidation of formaldehyde in alkaline conditions

Matthew J. Macdonald, Zhijie Wu, Jan Yves Ruzicka, Vladimir Golovko, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Alex C.K. Yip

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, three forms of faujasite zeolite Y, i.e. ammonium, proton and sodium form, were tested as catalyst supports for ferric ions (Fe3+) in the oxidation of aqueous formaldehyde (FA) in the presence of H2O2and UVC. The effect of charge-balancing cations on the FA oxidation at acidic and alkaline conditions was investigated using a batch reactor. The results showed that the three tested catalysts behave similarly at pH 3. However, the presence of charge-balancing proton gives the highest conversion of FA (26%) after 120 min at pH 7, which is comparable to the results obtained at pH 3, indicating the confined space in the supercage of Fe/H-Y provides a pH environment for Fenton reaction different to that provided by Fe/NH4-Y and Fe/Na-Y. Turnover frequency given by Fe/H-Y is more than 3 times faster than that given by Fe/NH4-Y or Fe/Na-Y. We proposed the surface proton, which is in close proximity to Fe3+, mitigates the leaching of metal and allows photo-Fenton process similar to what is generally observed at acidic pH condition. No change in solution pH was observed after the addition of all three tested form of zeolite. We concluded that the localized acidic setting given by the proton inside the porous structure of zeolite is able to promote photo-Fenton reaction at alkaline condition in a convenient and effective way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2014


  • Brønsted acid sites
  • Microporous channel
  • Photo-Fenton
  • Zeolite

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation

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