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Hexavalent chromium removal using ultraviolet photocatalytic reactor

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Hexavalant chromium (Cr(VI)) poses an emerging concern in drinking water treatment with stricter regulations on the horizon. Photocatalytic reduction of Cr(VI) was investigated as an engineering scale option to remove

Hexavalant chromium (Cr(VI)) poses an emerging concern in drinking water treatment with stricter regulations on the horizon. Photocatalytic reduction of Cr(VI) was investigated as an engineering scale option to remove hexavalent chromium from drinking or industrial waters via a UV/titanium dioxide (TiO2) process. Using an integrated UV lamp/ceramic membrane system to recirculate TiO2, both hexavalent and total chromium levels were reduced through photocatalytic processes without additional chemicals. Cr(VI) removal increased as a function of higher energy input and TiO2 dosage, achieving above 90% removal for a 1g/L dose of TiO2. Surface analysis of effluent TiO2 confirmed the presence of chromium species.

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  • 2013

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Photocatalysis for reductive transformation of nitrate and chromate in drinking water

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Contamination of drinking water supplies from oxo-anion pollutants necessitates treatment prior to potable use. This dissertation aims to inform and improve light delivery (emission spectra, radiant intensity, reactor configuration) in

Contamination of drinking water supplies from oxo-anion pollutants necessitates treatment prior to potable use. This dissertation aims to inform and improve light delivery (emission spectra, radiant intensity, reactor configuration) in order to enhance the photocatalytic reduction of hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) and nitrate, two common oxo-anions in drinking water, and photocatalytic oxidation of two model organic pollutants (methylene blue, (MB) and para-chlorobenzoic acid (pCBA)). By varying the photon fluence dose, two metrics (contaminant quantum yield (Φ), and electrical energy per order (EEO)) were used to assess photocatalytic reactor performance. A detailed literature review and experimental results demonstrated how different irradiance sources with variable intensity and emission spectra synergistically enhanced contaminant removal by a coupled photolytic/photocatalytic reaction mechanism. Cr(VI) was photocatalytically reduced on TiO2 and formed Cr(OH)3(s) in a large-scale slurry reactor, but Cr(III) was then photolyzed and reformed Cr(VI). UV light also led to photo-aggregation of TiO2 which improved its recovery by the ceramic membrane within the reactor. For nitrate reduction, light source emission spectra and fluence dose delineate the preferred pathways as intermediates were reduced via wavelength-dependent mechanisms. HONO was identified as a key nitrate reduction intermediate, which was reduced photocatalytically (UV wavelengths) and/or readily photolyzed at 365nm, to yield nitrogen gases. Photocatalytic nitrate reduction efficiency was higher for discrete wavelength irradiation than polychromatic irradiation. Light delivery through aqueous media to the catalyst surface limits efficiency of slurry-based photocatalysts because absorption and scattering of light in nanomaterial slurries decreases effective photon transmittance and minimizes photolytic reactions. The use of optical fibers coupled to light emitting diodes (OF-LED) with immobilized catalyst demonstrated higher performance compared to slurry systems. OF-LED increased Φ for MB degradation by increasing direct photon delivery to the photocatalyst. Design of OF-LED reactors using bundled optical fibers demonstrated photocatalytic pCBA removal with high Φ and reduced EEO due to increased surface area and catalytic sites compared to single OF/LED couples. This work advances light delivery as well as the suspension and attachment of nanoparticles in photocatalytic water treatment for selective transformation of oxo-anions and organic compounds to innocuous species.

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  • 2017