A Caltech Library Service

Application of Heterojunction Ni-Sb-SnO₂ Anodes for Electrochemical Water Treatment


Zhang, Yi (2023) Application of Heterojunction Ni-Sb-SnO₂ Anodes for Electrochemical Water Treatment. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/dmrd-w489.


Clean water supply and adequate sanitation services are critical for public health as well as for food production. Small-scale decentralized treatment represents an attractive alternative that can provide necessary water treatment in many parts of the developing world where centralized wastewater treatment facilities are not practical owing to financial, geographical, or political constraints. Electrochemical oxidation (EO) is a suitable technique for decentralized treatment settings since it does not require the addition of auxiliary chemicals and offers fast reaction kinetics and modular treatment capacity. EO is considered a versatile technology since it can degrade a wide array of contaminants and inactivate waterborne pathogens. The chemical composition of the anode, where EO takes place, is a key factor that controls reactive species production and thus treatment efficiency and energy consumption. Ideal anodes for wastewater treatment should have high overpotential for oxygen evolution (“nonactive” anodes) and favor complete organics oxidation through direct electron transfer and/or reactions with potent oxidants such as hydroxyl radical and ozone. Common nonactive anodes including antimony-doped tin oxide (Sb-SnO₂), lead oxide (PbO₂), and boron-doped diamond (BDD) have attracted wide research interests. The work presented in this thesis centered around a newly designed heterojunction Ni-Sb-SnO₂2-based anode (NAT/AT) and its various applications in decentralized water and wastewater treatment. Direct treatment using NAT/AT has proved to be efficient for chemical oxygen demand removal, trace organic compound degradation, and microbial disinfection. Detailed investigation into pharmaceutical degradation kinetics and transformation products further established NAT/AT as a potential treatment alternative for the control of pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in hospital wastewaters. NAT/AT is also capable of synthesizing ferrates (e.g., FeO₄²⁻) in circumneutral conditions, the high oxidation state iron species that represents another group of powerful oxidants well-suited for decentralized treatment purposes. In an additional effort to tackle high concentrations of ammonium often present in latrine wastewaters, functionalized metal-organic framework (MOF), a class of materials featuring high porosity, abundant active sites, and highly tunable physical and chemical properties, was used to recover the ammonium nitrogen. Various modifications of MOF-808, a highly water stable MOF, were designed and synthesized to achieve urea hydrolysis, ammonium capture, and real-time ammonium sensing in sequence. In combination, the described works provide a powerful toolkit that can be used in treating various waste streams before discharge and/or reuse.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Double-layer Ni-Sb-SnO2 anodes, organic compound degradation, microbial disinfection, pharmaceuticals, degradation kinetics, transformation products, ferrate(IV/V/VI) synthesis, nitrogen recovery
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Environmental Science and Engineering
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Hoffmann, Michael R.
Thesis Committee:
  • Sessions, Alex L. (chair)
  • Frankenberg, Christian
  • See, Kimberly
  • Gschwend, Philip M.
  • Hoffmann, Michael R.
Defense Date:10 February 2023
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationINV003227
Resnick Sustainability InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03132023-113800696
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription adapted for chapter 2 adapted for chapter 3 adapted for chapter 4
Zhang, Yi0000-0002-9062-5201
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15118
Deposited By: Yi Zhang
Deposited On:24 Mar 2023 17:32
Last Modified:31 Mar 2023 20:06

Thesis Files

[img] PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page