Denitrification of Water Using ZnO/Cu Photocatalysts

(De Gruyter) – Groundwater as a potable source is highly succeptible to contamination. Nitrate contamination is one of the main methods for drinking water contamination and results from agricultural activities and urban development. High levels of nitrates can cause cancer.

There are various methods for reducing nitrate from drinking water, such as filtration, ion exchange, and biological and photocatalytic processes. The photocatalytic process, an economic and simple method compared with other methods uses various metal oxide semiconductors, such as TiO2, ZnO, MoO3, CeO2, ZrO2, WO3, α-Fe2O3 and SnO2, as catalysts in the photocatalytic reaction.

ZnO suffers from photochemical corrosion and high recombination rate of photo-generated electron/hole. Cu is a denitrification catalyst, but it draws its activation energy from a photocatalyst and, in fact, Cu is incorporated in oxidation reduction during the process.

The authors present nanocrystalline ZnO:xCu prepared via reaction in a water medium method followed by wet impregnation for Cu deposition. Past studies used photocatalysts to remove nitrates from water. The effect of Cu loading on ZnO nanoparticles was also investigated. The ZnO:xCu photocatalyst was prepared with reacting media, namely, the water method followed by wet impregnation in order to deposit Cu on the ZnO nanoparticles. Results indicated that the ZnO:xCu photocatalyst had high photocalytic activity to remove nitrate from water with complete degradation achieved after 2.5 h.

ZnO:xCu particles were found to be in a single homogeneous phase with an approximate size of about 47 nm. The activity of the synthesized photocatalysts were evaluated for the denitrification of potable water, and the results indicated that ZnO:25%Cu has the higher photocatalytic activity compared with other catalysts.

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Edited for Content and Length by Dr. Matthew A. Hood.

The  full article can be found at De Gruyter in the journal of Green Processing and Synthesis.

2017 IMPACT FACOR 0.736

DOI: 10.1515/gps-2016-0021

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