Background and purpose: Furfural is a toxic chemical that is widely used in refinery and petrochemical industries. Wastewater containing furfural need appropriate treatments before being disposed to the environment in order to avoid the toxic effects of this compound on the environment and human. This study aimed to investigate the efficiency of electrocoagulation process in removal of furfural.
Materials and methods: This experimental study was conducted using a Plexiglas reactor with an approximate volume of 500 ml equipped with four Al and Fe electrodes (Anode-Cathode) in monopolar-parallel mode. The effects of operating parameters such as electrodes connection, type of electrodes, pH of solution, applied voltage, furfural initial concentration, and reaction time were evaluated by defined factor of 4×4 using Taguchi L16 orthogonal array in a batch mode. Concentration of furfural was determined using HPLC wavelength of 254 nm. Data analysis was performed in Minitab 16TM software.
Results: Based on the results of the Taguchi method, the optimum conditions for furfural removal included the initial furfural concentration of 100 mg/L, pH= 7, voltage= 10 V, and reaction time= 30 min. The contribution rate of each parameter was determined through ANOVA test. Accordingly, the most and least influential factors were found to be the initial furfural concentration and pH, respectively. Furthermore, in optimum conditions, the furfural removal efficiency of this model was 94.7%.
Conclusion: As the findings of the present study indicated, electrocoagulation process is believed to be an effective method in furfural removal which could remove 95% of furfural in optimum laboratory conditions.