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Iron Catalysis in Oxidations by Ozone

Ames Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

Ozone is used commercially for treatment of potable and non-potable water, and as an industrial oxidant. ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method for using iron in ozone oxidation that significantly improves the speed of oxidation reactions.


Ozone is recognized as potent and effective oxidizing agent, and has a number of commercial uses, including use as an industrial oxidant and water treatment. Ozone is attractive as an oxidant or a disinfectant because it is one of the most active and readily available oxidants, and because the formation of molecular oxygen as a by-product makes it environmentally friendly. However, ozone is not always as fast or efficient as chemical oxidants, since ozone can degrade during the reaction and cause incomplete oxidation.

To overcome these limitations, ISU and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method for using iron as an effective catalyst in oxidations mediated by ozone. By reacting iron(II) with ozone, nearly instantaneous and complete oxidation of substrates such as alcohols, ethers, aldehydes, nitriles, sulfides and sulfoxides occurs, making this a particularly useful process for waste water treatment, water purification, and other similar applications.

  • Rapid rate of catalysis (oxidation occurs nearly instantaneously)
  • Environmentally friendly (ozone naturally decomposes to oxygen, and no toxic halogenated compounds are produced)
  • Versatile (may be used for any application and/or substrates for which ozone is used as an oxidant)
  • Simple (catalyst is formed in situ using commercially available materials at the point of ozone generation).
Applications and Industries

Oxidation of aqueous waste streams, water treatment, food treatment and processing.

More Information

The process is available for demonstration and can be adopted right away. Iowa State University is thus seeking partners for commercialization of this technology.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Patent 7,618,546
Iron catalysis in oxidation by ozone
A means and method for improving ozone oxidation through the addition of an iron(II) catalyst is described.
Ames Laboratory 11/17/2009
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

Contact AMES About This Technology

To: Stacy Joiner<>