Fenton-driven chemical regeneration of MTBE-spent GAC

Scott G. Huling, Patrick K. Jones, Wendell P. Ela, Robert G. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)-spent granular activated carbon (GAC) was chemically regenerated utilizing the Fenton mechanism. Two successive GAC regeneration cycles were performed involving iterative adsorption and oxidation processes: MTBE was adsorbed to the GAC, oxidized, re-adsorbed, oxidized, and finally re-adsorbed. Oxidant solutions comprised of hydrogen peroxide (H 2O2) (1.7-2.0%) and FeSO4·7H 2O (3 g/L) (pH 2.5), were recirculated through the GAC column (30% bed expansion). The regeneration efficiency after two full cycles of treatment was calculated to be 91%. The cost of H2O2 was $0.59/kg GAC ($0.27/lb) per regeneration cycle. There was no loss of sorptive capacity. Small reductions in carbon surface area and pore volume were measured. The lack of carbon deterioration under aggressive oxidative conditions was attributed to the oxidation of the target contaminants relative to the oxidation of carbon surfaces. The reaction byproducts from MTBE oxidation, tertiary butanol and acetone, were also degraded and did not accumulate significantly on the GAC. Excessive accumulation of Fe on the GAC and consequent interference with MTBE sorption and carbon regeneration was controlled by monitoring and adjusting Fe in the oxidative solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2145-2153
Number of pages9
JournalWater research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Activated carbon
  • Chemical regeneration
  • MTBE
  • Oxidation
  • Surface area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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