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Open AccessArticle

Floating Photocatalysts for Passive Solar Degradation of Naphthenic Acids in Oil Sands Process-Affected Water

1
Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
2
Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Water 2018, 10(2), 202; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10020202
Received: 6 December 2017 / Revised: 1 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 14 February 2018
Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), generated from bitumen extraction in the Canadian oil sands, may require treatment to enable safe discharge to receiving watersheds, as dissolved naphthenic acids (NAs) and other acid extractable organics (AEO), identified as the primary toxic components of OSPW, are environmentally persistent and poorly biodegradable. However, conventional advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are impractically expensive to treat the volumes of OSPW stockpiled in the Athabasca region. Here we prepared floating photocatalysts (FPCs) by immobilizing TiO2 on glass microbubbles, such that the composite particles float at the air-water interface for passive solar photocatalysis. The FPCs were demonstrated to outperform P25 TiO2 nanoparticles in degrading AEO in raw OSPW under natural sunlight and gentle mixing conditions. The FPCs were also found to be recyclable for multiple uses through simple flotation and skimming. This paper thus demonstrates the concept of a fully passive AOP that may be scalable to oil sands water treatment challenges, achieving efficient NA reduction solely through the energy provided by sunlight and natural mixing processes (wind and waves). View Full-Text
Keywords: passive; solar; photocatalysis; naphthenic acids; oil sands passive; solar; photocatalysis; naphthenic acids; oil sands
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MDPI and ACS Style

Leshuk, T.; Krishnakumar, H.; De Oliveira Livera, D.; Gu, F. Floating Photocatalysts for Passive Solar Degradation of Naphthenic Acids in Oil Sands Process-Affected Water. Water 2018, 10, 202.

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