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Current Challenges in Photocatalysis: Improved Photocatalysts and Appropriate Photoreactor Engineering

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The photocatalytic activity of different commercially available titanium dioxide materials is compared employing dichloroacetate (DCA-) as the model pollutant. A mechanism is presented evincing that one photon is sufficient to initiate the complete mineralization of one DCA- molecule. The observed non-linear dependence of the photonic efficiency ( of the DCA- degradation upon the incident photon rate is explained by a simple mathematical model considering only one-electron charge transfer and recombination reactions on the semiconductor particle. Since photonic efficiencies below 1% are observed when aromatic compounds are used as model pollutants, an electron-shuttle mechanism is proposed involving the benzoquinone/hydroquinone redox couple and resulting in an overall enhancement of the electon/hole recombination. Newly synthesized colloidal Ti/Fe mixed oxide particles exhibit higher activity for the degradation of dichloroacetate than pure TiO2 colloids, however, they still suffer from cathodic corrosion problems. Finally, a self-contained thin film fixed bed reactor (TFFBR) is presented which can be operated as a stand-alone system gaining the energy for the pump operation from an appropriate photovoltaic module and regulating the water flow as a function of the solar flux.

Affiliations: 1: Institut für Solarenergieforschung GmbH Hameln/Emmerthal Aussenstelle Hannover, Sokelantstrasse 5, D-30165 Hannover, GERMANY


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