Pure triclinic FeVO4 catalysts Were synthesized by hydrothermal method and modified with Hexadecyltrimethylammonium Bromide (HTAB), Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) as surfactant. The materials were characterized by XRD, BET, FT-IR, DRS and SEM techniques. These catalysts were used for the photocatalytic degradation of phenol (Ph) under natural solar light irradiation. The effect of preparation parameters on the photocatalytic activity was also examined. It is found that the surfactant and pH value a significant influence on the particle morphology and even the crystalline structure of the product. Surfactant added products resulted an improve efficiency of the triclinic FeVO4. With HTAB as surfactant at an hydrothermal temperature of 75 degrees C and the pH 3 value of the precursor solution the highest percentage of phenol degradation (100%) and highest reaction rate (1.24 mgl(-1) min(-1)) were obtained in 45 min. It is concluded that the excellent photocatlytic activity of the HTAB-assisted FeVO4 catalyst, with rod-like shaped morphology, was associated its small particle size, large surface area, the presence of more surface OH groups and lower band gap energy than pure FeVO4. (C) 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.