An iron catalyst supported on the modified Tamazert kaolin has been prepared and tested in catalytic wet peroxide oxidation using phenol and 4-chlorophenol (4-CP) as target compounds (100 mg/L initial concentration). Kaolin is not usually employed as a catalytic support due to its low developed porous structure, but its textural properties may be improved upon calcination and acid and basic treatment. The catalyst was characterized by N2 adsorption–desorption and chemical analysis by total-reflection X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy. The catalytic tests were carried out in a batch reactor with a stoichiometric amount of H2O2. The catalytic efficiency was studied within the temperature range of 25–55°C at an initial pH of 3.3 and 1 g/L catalyst. Complete phenol and 4-CP removal was achieved with no significant differences in phenol and 4-CP conversions within the temperature range tested. Meanwhile, total organic carbon (TOC) reduction was greatly favoured by increasing the temperature, which may be partially attributed to a probable contribution of a homogeneous reaction associated with iron leaching. However, this effect might be of limited significance because the highest concentrations of iron in the liquid phase were below 4.5 and 8.5 mg/L in the experiments with phenol and 4-CP, respectively. At 55°C, TOC was reduced by ~70% after 4 h reaction time, with the remaining by-products corresponding almost completely to low-molecular-weight carboxylic acids of very low ecotoxicity.

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