Gels. 2023 Aug 17;9(8):665. doi: 10.3390/gels9080665.
The Electro-Fenton (EF) process has emerged as a promising technology for pollutant removal. However, the EF process requires the use of two catalysts: one acting as an electrocatalyst for the reduction of oxygen to H2O2 and another Fenton-type catalyst for the generation of ·OH radicals from H2O2. Thus, the search for materials with bifunctionality for both processes is required for a practical and real application of the EF process. Thus, in this work, bifunctional electrocatalysts were obtained via doping carbon microspheres with Eco-graphene, a form of graphene produced using eco-friendly methods. The incorporation of Eco-graphene offers numerous advantages to the catalysts, including enhanced conductivity, leading to more efficient electron transfer during the Electro-Fenton process. Additionally, the synthesis induced structural defects that serve as active sites, promoting the direct production of hydroxyl radicals via a 3-electron pathway. Furthermore, the spherical morphology of carbon xerogels enhances the accessibility of the reagents to the active sites. This combination of factors results in the effective degradation of Tetracycline (TTC) using metal-free catalysts in the Electro-Fenton process, achieving up to an impressive 83% degradation without requiring any other external or additional catalyst.