Electrolytic cells for the continuous generation of hydrogen peroxide in streams of water have been developed. Cells of this type could be incorporated into wastewater-treatment systems based on advanced oxidation processes that utilize hydroxyl radicals. In addition to H2O2- generating cells, such a treatment system would include catalysts for the decomposition of H2O2 and the formation of hydroxyl radicals as decomposition products. The hydroxyl radicals would oxidize organic contaminants, thereby removing them from the wastewater.

An electrolytic cell of this type includes an anode and a cathode in direct contact with a polymeric electrolyte membrane. Oxygen is supplied and dissolved in the wastewater stream, which is then circulated over the cathode. Under suitable conditions of oxygen pressure, flow rate, and electric-current density, H2O2 accumulates over the cathode with nearly 100-percent faradaic efficiency. Multiple cells could be stacked to multiply the rate of production of H2O2.

This work was done by James H. White, Michael Schwartz, and Anthony F. Sammells of Eltron Research, Inc., for Johnson Space Center.

In accordance with Public Law 96-517, the contractor has elected to retain title to this invention. Inquiries concerning rights for its commercial use should be addressed to

Eileen Sammells
Eltron Research Inc.
5660 Airport Boulevard
Boulder, CO 80301-2340
Tel. No.: (303) 440-8008

Refer to MSC-22835