Kinetics and Pathways of Cyanide Degradation at High Temperatures and Pressures
The degradation of cyanide was performed in a 1-L semibatch reactor at temperatures between 393 and 473 K and at total pressures in the range of 2.0?8.0 MPa. The initial pH of the solution was set at 11, whereas initial concentrations ranged from 3.85 to 25 mM, which resemble the typical concentrations of cyanide-containing wastewater. The change with time of cyanide concentration, intermediates, and final products was analyzed in order to elucidate the reaction pathways. The experimental results suggest two parallel pathways of alkaline hydrolysis for the degradation of the pollutant. Formate and ammonia were identified as the final reaction products for one of the pathways, whereas carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and hydrogen were considered to be the final products for the other one. The degradation reaction results were fitted to first-order kinetic equations with respect to cyanide, giving respectively activation energies of 108.2 ± 3.3 and 77.6 ± 3.0 kJ/mol. Consequently, the formation of formate and ammonia is favored at high temperatures, whereas low temperatures favored the pathway leading to the formation of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.