An investigation of photoelectrocatalytic disinfection of water using titania nanotube photoanodes with carbon cathodes and determination of the radicals produced

S. McMichael, A. Tolosana-Moranchel, M. A.L.R.M. Cortes, Jeremy Hamilton, P. Fernandez-Ibanez, J. A. Byrne

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Abstract

In photoelectrocatalysis (PEC) a considerable amount of research has been focused on improving the photoelectrode; however, cathodic reactions are essential to PEC disinfection. In this work, a TiO2 nanotube (TiNT) array was used as the photoanode with various cathode electrodes materials, including gas diffusion electrodes (GDE) modified with different Pt nanoparticle loadings. The highest rate of E.coli inactivation was achieved with the non-modified GDE (2.51 log) compared to Pt mesh paddle (0.79 log reduction). This was explained by the examining reactive oxygen species generated at the counter electrode, where the non-modified GDE had the highest Faradaic efficiency of 15.5% for the formation of H2O2. Modification with Pt inhibited the formation of H2O2 to below the detection limit. The TiNT photoanode was shown to generate hydroxyl radicals, but importantly, there was reduction of molecular oxygen to superoxide radical at the anode. A thin cell reactor was then constructed using the identified optimal materials and a 5.0 log reduction in E.coli was in 20 min under UVA irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121339
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Volume311
Early online date23 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to acknowledge the Department for Economy (DfE) Northern Ireland for funding Stuart McMichael, the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) UK Research and Innovation for funding SAFEWATER (Grant Reference EP/P032427/1 ) and European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 820718 (PANIWATER).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

Keywords

  • Cathode
  • Gas diffusion electrode
  • Photoelectrocatalysis
  • Platinum nanoparticles
  • TiO nanotubes

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