This study converted sewage sludge into a carbonaceous catalyst via pyrolysis and employed it in the ozonation of hydroquinone. The catalyst was characterized by Mössbauer spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, temperature programmed desorption, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. Intermediate products were detected by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, and a pathway for hydroquinone degradation was proposed. The results showed that sludge pyrolyzed at 700 °C promoted hydroquinone degradation, compared with commercial activated carbon derived from coal. When the catalyst dose was 0.5 g/L, the hydroquinone (200 mg/L) removal rate reached 97.86% after exposure to ozone (the ozone concentration was 17 mg/L and the flow rate was 50 mL/min) for 60 min. The results indicated that basic groups contributed to the catalysis.

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