Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) has been explored as a catalyst for degrading persistent organic pollutants in wastewater by Catalytic Wet Peroxide Oxidation (CWPO). Herein, the superior activity of the h-BN on the phenol degradation (model pollutant) compared to other metal-free catalysts, such as carbon-based ones, and the lower selectivity to CO encourage the potential application of h-BN catalysts in CWPO processes. Through a combined density functional theory calculations, experimental reactions and catalyst characterization approach, a comprehensive study on the reaction mechanism has been conducted. According to this, only defected B atoms in the h-BN layer, protonated as B-(OH2)+, decompose the hydrogen peroxide into highly reactive hydroxyl radicals. The radical species diffuse towards inner h-BN regions and react with the phenol adsorbed by π-π interaction on the h-BN surface. Oxidation by-products cause carbonaceous deposits and progressive deactivation of the h-BN catalyst that can be directly regenerated by burning off in air.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering