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Photocatalytic degradation of contaminants of emerging concern using a low-cost and efficient black bismuth titanate-based water treatment reactor

Grao, M, Redfern, J ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0958-683X, Kelly, P ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1008-4941 and Ratova, M (2022) Photocatalytic degradation of contaminants of emerging concern using a low-cost and efficient black bismuth titanate-based water treatment reactor. Journal of Water Process Engineering, 45. p. 102525. ISSN 2214-7144

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File will be available on: 27 December 2022.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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Abstract

Photocatalysis is recognized as a sustainable technology for wastewater treatment, but it is limited by its scalability and efficiency. Here, we report the fabrication of a bespoke photocatalytic reactor, made from readily available consumer market components. The reactor was loaded with glass rods coated with a bismuth titanate photocatalyst deposited by reactive pulsed DC magnetron sputtering. Bismuth titanate is a remarkable material, which has shown the property of increasing its photocatalytic capabilities over repeated usage due to photoinduced oxygen vacancies, forming oxygen-vacancy rich “black” bismuth titanate. The reactor was tested with different rod configurations and photocatalytic material was cycled over 25 times, equivalent to 125 h of consecutive use, against methylene blue dye under UV light. Orange II dye degradation tests carried out in the presence of scavengers revealed that photocatalytic reactions were driven by superoxide (O2∙−) and holes (h+), when using pristine bismuth titanate and by superoxide (O2∙−), electrons (e−) and holes (h+), when using “black” bismuth titanate. Finally, the reactor was used to successfully degrade levofloxacin, a typical antibiotic, which was verified by UV–Vis (ultraviolet-visible) spectroscopy and inhibition zone tests in the presence of three different pathogens (E. coli, S. aureus and A. baumannii).

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