Quantifying the efficiency and selectivity of organohalide dechlorination by zerovalent iron

Feng He, Li Gong, Dimin Fan, Paul G. Tratnyek, Gregory V. Lowry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


The efficiency and selectivity of zerovalent iron-based treatments for organohalide contaminated groundwater can be quantified by accounting for redistribution of electrons derived from oxidation of Fe0. Several types of efficiency are reviewed, including (i) the efficiency of Fe(0) utilization, ϵFe(0), (ii) the electron efficiency of target contaminant reduction, ϵe, and (iii) the electron efficiency of natural reductant demand (NRD) involving H2O, O2, and co-contaminants such as nitrate, ϵNRD. Selectivity can then be calculated by using ϵeNRD. Of particular interest is ϵe and the key to its determination is measuring the total quantity of electrons provided by Fe0 oxidation, which can be based on either the loss of Fe(0), the formation of Fe(ii)/Fe(iii), or the composition of the total reaction products. Recently, many data have accumulated on ϵe for the treatment of various chlorinated solvents (esp. trichloroethylene, TCE) by zerovalent iron (ZVI), and analysis of these data shows that ZVI particle properties (e.g., stabilization with polymers, bimetallic modification, sulfidation, etc.) and other operational factors have variable effects on ϵe. Of particular interest is that pre-exposure of ZVI to reduced sulfur species (i.e., sulfidation) consistently improves the ϵe of contaminant reduction, mainly by suppressing the reduction of water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-542
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Science: Processes and Impacts
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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