Development of an Activated Carbon-Based Electrode for the Capture and Rapid Electrolytic Reductive Debromination of Methyl Bromide from Postharvest Fumigations.
Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Oct 18;50(20):11200-11208
Authors: Li Y, Liu C, Cui Y, Walse SS, Olver R, Zilberman D, Mitch WA
Due to concerns surrounding its ozone depletion potential, there is a need for technologies to capture and destroy methyl bromide (CH3Br) emissions from postharvest fumigations applied to control agricultural pests. Previously, we described a system in which CH3Br fumes vented from fumigation chambers could be captured by granular activated carbon (GAC). The GAC was converted to a cathode by submergence in a high ionic strength solution and connection to the electrical grid, resulting in reductive debromination of the sorbed CH3Br. The GAC bed was drained and dried for reuse to capture and destroy CH3Br fumes from the next fumigation. However, the loose GAC particles and slow kinetics of this primitive electrode necessitated improvements. Here, we report the development of a cathode containing a thin layer of small GAC particles coating carbon cloth as a current distributor. Combining the high sorption potential of GAC for CH3Br with the conductivity of the carbon cloth current distributor, the cathode significantly lowered the total cell resistance and achieved 96% reductive debromination of CH3Br sorbed at 30% by weight to the GAC within 15 h at -1 V applied potential vs standard hydrogen electrode, a time scale and efficiency suitable for postharvest fumigations. The cathode exhibited stable performance over 50 CH3Br capture and destruction cycles. Initial cost estimates indicate that this technique could treat CH3Br fumes at ∼$5/kg, roughly one-third of the cost of current alternatives.
PMID: 27611209 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]