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Scaling up Photoelectrocatalytic Reactors: A TiO2 Nanotube-Coated Disc Compound Reactor Effectively Degrades Acetaminophen

1
Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-3005, USA
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Facultad de Ingeniería y Arquitectura, Universidad de Lima, Avenida Javier Prado Este 4600, Santiago de Surco, Lima 1503, Peru
3
Department of Chemical Engineering, School of Industrial Engineering, University of Castilla-La Mancha, Avenida de España, SN 02071 Albacete, Spain
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2019, 11(12), 2522; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122522
Received: 24 September 2019 / Revised: 8 November 2019 / Accepted: 26 November 2019 / Published: 28 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Water and Wastewater Treatment)
Multiple discs coated with hierarchically-organized TiO2 anatase nanotubes served as photoelectrodes in a novel annular photoelectrocatalytic reactor. Electrochemical characterization showed light irradiation enhanced the current response due to photogeneration of charge carriers. The pharmaceutical acetaminophen was used as a representative water micropollutant. The photoelectrocatalysis pseudo-first-order rate constant for acetaminophen was seven orders of magnitude greater than electrocatalytic treatment. Compared against photocatalysis alone, our photoelectrocatalytic reactor at <8 V reduced by two fold, the electric energy per order (EEO; kWh m−3 order−1 for 90% pollutant degradation). Applying a cell potential higher than 8 V detrimentally increased EEO. Acetaminophen was degraded across a range of initial concentrations, but absorbance at higher concentration diminished photon transport, resulting in higher EEO. Extended photoelectrocatalytic reactor operation degraded acetaminophen, which was accompanied by 53% mineralization based upon total organic carbon measurements. This proof of concept for our photoelectrocatalytic reactor demonstrated a strategy to increase photo-active surface area in annular reactors. View Full-Text
Keywords: electrochemical advanced oxidation processes; water treatment; hydroxyl radical; persistent organic pollutant; titanium dioxide nanotubes electrochemical advanced oxidation processes; water treatment; hydroxyl radical; persistent organic pollutant; titanium dioxide nanotubes
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Montenegro-Ayo, R.; Morales-Gomero, J.C.; Alarcon, H.; Cotillas, S.; Westerhoff, P.; Garcia-Segura, S. Scaling up Photoelectrocatalytic Reactors: A TiO2 Nanotube-Coated Disc Compound Reactor Effectively Degrades Acetaminophen. Water 2019, 11, 2522.

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