Scientific reports

High production of CH4 and H2 by reducing PET waste water using a non-diaphragm-based electrochemical method.

PMID 26842833


In recent years, the worldwide use of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) has increased exponentially. PET wastewater contains ethylene glycol (EG) and terephthalic acid (TPA). In this study, we present a unique method for producing combustible gases like CH4 and H2 from PET wastewater by electrochemical reaction of EG and TPA. The non-diaphragm-based electrochemical (NDE) method was used to treat PET wastewater. The electrochemical removal of EG and TPA from PET wastewater was examined and the optimal conditions for their reduction to CH4 and H2 were determined. Using the proposed system, 99.9% of the EG and TPA present in the PET wastewater samples were degraded to produce CH4 and H2, at applied voltages lower than 5 V. The highest Faradaic efficiency achieved for EG and TPA reduction was 62.2% (CH4, 25.6%; H2, 36.6%), at an applied voltage of 0.8 V. Remarkably, CH4 was produced from EG decomposition and H2 from TPA decomposition. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first reported instance of CH4 and H2 production from EG and TPA, respectively. The electrochemical reductive treatment will be an important discovery for reducing water contamination and replacing fossil fuels with respect to generating green energy.