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Open AccessArticle

Control of Membrane Fouling in Organics Filtration Using Ce-Doped Zirconia and Visible Light

1
Department of Chemistry, University of Torino, Via P.Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
2
NIS (Nanostructured Interfaces and surfaces), University of Torino, Via P.Giuria 7, 10125 Torino, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(4), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano9040534
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 14 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Safe Nano-Enabled Water Treatment Applications)
Membrane fouling has been a major issue in the development of more efficient water treatment processes. Specifically in surface waters filtration, organic matter, such as humic-like substances, can cause irreversible fouling. Therefore, this study evaluates the activity of a photocatalytic layer composed of Ce-doped zirconia nanoparticles in improving the fouling resistance during filtration of an aqueous solution of humic acid (HA). These nanoparticles were prepared by hydrothermal and sol–gel processes and then characterized. Before the filtration experiments, the photodegradation of HA catalyzed by Ce-doped zirconia nanoparticles in dispersion was studied. It was observed that the sol–gel prepared Ce-ZrO2 exhibited higher HA removal in practically neutral pH, achieving 93% efficiency in 180 min of adsorption in the dark followed by 180 min under visible-light irradiation using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Changes in spectral properties and in total organic carbon confirmed HA degradation and contributed to the proposal of a mechanism for HA photodegradation. Finally, in HA filtration tests, Ce-ZrO2 photocatalytic membranes were able to recover the flux in a fouled membrane using visible-light by degrading HA. The present findings point to the further development of anti-fouling membranes, in which solar light can be used to degrade fouling compounds and possibly contaminants of emerging concern, which will have important environmental implications. View Full-Text
Keywords: fouling; humic acid; zirconium dioxide; photocatalysts; cerium; visible light; LED; membrane filtration fouling; humic acid; zirconium dioxide; photocatalysts; cerium; visible light; LED; membrane filtration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Bortot Coelho, F.E.; Gionco, C.; Paganini, M.C.; Calza, P.; Magnacca, G. Control of Membrane Fouling in Organics Filtration Using Ce-Doped Zirconia and Visible Light. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 534.

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