Electrochemically assisted photocatalysis for the disinfection of rainwater under solar irradiation

Stuart McMichael, Monique Waso, B Reyneke, Wesaal Khan, John Byrne, Pilar Fernandez-Ibanez

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In this work a photo electrochemical reactor (PEC) with a compound parabolic collector (CPC) has been designed and tested for the electrochemically assisted photocatalytic (EAP) disinfection of rainwater under real sun conditions in South Africa. The reactor consisted of a Ti mesh coated with aligned titania nanotubes with a carbon counter electrode in a concentric tubular configuration, within a borosilicate glass tube with a CPC. Environmental strains of Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa were used. The viability of the microorganisms was analysed by culture-based and by EMA-qPCR methods. The reactor was tested under real sun during the winter in South Africa with a relatively low UV irradiance (max: 13 Wm-2). Under real sun irradiation, EAP yielded a 5.5-log10 reduction for E. coli and a 5.8-log10 reduction for P. aeruginosa for culture-based analysis. The EAP treatment also showed improved results by EMA-qPCR analysis with a 2.4-log10 reduction in gene copies for E. coli and 3.0-log10 for P. aeruginosa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119485
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Early online date28 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Feb 2021

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 the Royal Society for funding the Newton Mobility Grant award (NI170184).

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • EMA-qPCR
  • Electrochemically assisted photocatalysis
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa
  • Solar disinfection
  • TiO Nanotubes


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