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    Treatment of Dark Humic Water Using Photocatalytic Advanced Oxidation (PAO) Processes under Visible and UV Light

    Gordon, Alexandra, Leaper, Mark C, Potgieter, Herman, Ashiegbu, Darlington and Sibanda, Vusumuzi (2023) Treatment of Dark Humic Water Using Photocatalytic Advanced Oxidation (PAO) Processes under Visible and UV Light. Clean Technologies, 5 (3). pp. 852-865.

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    The aim of the study was to investigate the application of photocatalytic advanced oxidation (PAO) for the treatment of water contaminated with dark humic material from fynbos biome plants, which cannot be treated by conventional methods. The study used a fynbos species (Aspalathus linearis) to create a model wastewater that was compared with a brew made from black tea (Camellia sinensis). Two photocatalysts (TiO2 and ZnO) and three light sources (natural, halogen light, and UV light) were tested, with and without hydrogen peroxide. The treatment of the two teas by only photolysis was observed to be minimal. The study found that natural sunlight was not effective, but a combination of ZnO and halogen lamp exhibited the best performance, with a 60% degradation in 20 min under solar irradiation. The optimum catalyst concentration was identified as 10 g/L for both photocatalysts. The influence of some process parameters showed that a combination of an optimum dose of 5 mM H2O2 and solar radiation improved the performance of TiO2 from 16 to 47%. The photocatalytic reaction data were fitted to the pseudo first and second-order kinetic models in order to exploit the kinetic process of the photo-destruction reaction. The kinetic fits showed that the degradation reaction better adhered to the second-order kinetic model when only ZnO and solar radiation were applied, regardless of the tea type employed. The application of PAO in this novel and cost-effective way has potential for the abatement of contaminated water to potable water. The use of heterojunction photocatalysts could be explored in future research to further improve the process.

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