Special Issue "Innovative Catalytic and Photocatalytic Systems for Environmental Remediation"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Catalysis".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Vincenzo Vaiano
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Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Engineering, University Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo 2 132, I-84084 Fisciano, Salerno, Italy
Interests: photocatalysis for sustainable chemistry; photocatalytic and photo-Fenton processes for pollutants removal in wastewater; catalytic combustion of sewage sludge; decomposition and oxidative decomposition of H2S; hydrolysis of COS in liquid phase
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Olga Sacco
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Guest Editor
Department of Chemistry and Biology "A.Zambelli", University of Salerno, Via Giovanni Paolo II 132, 84084 Fisciano (SA), Italy
Interests: synthesis and characterization of catalytic materials; phosphors-based nanomaterials; nanostructured photocatalysts and supports; photocatalysis for the removal of pollutants from water and wastewater; membrane separation processes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Today, water and air pollution are issues of great concern, due to the adverse effects that pollution has on the environment and human health. Therefore, cost-effective and appropriate air-pollution-control and water-treatment technologies must be explored and implemented. Many different approaches have been investigated and, in particular, catalytic processes may play a central role. For this reason, the design of new catalytic systems for the mitigation of environmental pollution is strongly necessary. This Special Issue is focused on “Innovative Catalytic and Photocatalytic Systems for Environmental Remediation”, featuring the state-of-the-art of this field. Research papers related to the synthesis and characterization of novel nanomaterials or nanocomposites and their uses in the removal of pollutants from liquid and gaseous phases are welcome in this Special Issue. Moreover, innovative structured catalysts for different purposes will also be considered.

Prof. Vincenzo Vaiano
Dr. Olga Sacco
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Catalysts is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Nanomaterials
  • Zero-valent iron (ZVI)
  • Nanostructured photocatalysts
  • Heterostructures
  • Structured catalysts
  • Water and wastewater treatment
  • Gaseous streams treatment

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Kinetics and Nanoparticle Catalytic Enhancement of Biogas Production from Wastewater Using a Magnetized Biochemical Methane Potential (MBMP) System
Catalysts 2020, 10(10), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10101200 - 16 Oct 2020
Abstract
This study presents magnetized nanoparticles (NPs) as a catalyst to accelerate anaerobic digestion (AD) potential for clean and ecofriendly energy (biogas) from wastewater settings. The effects of iron oxides (Ms) and aluminum sulphate (Alum) were investigated using two chronological experiments: (i) the Jar [...] Read more.
This study presents magnetized nanoparticles (NPs) as a catalyst to accelerate anaerobic digestion (AD) potential for clean and ecofriendly energy (biogas) from wastewater settings. The effects of iron oxides (Ms) and aluminum sulphate (Alum) were investigated using two chronological experiments: (i) the Jar test technique to generate residue slurry as organic fertilizer potential and (ii) a magnetized biochemical methane potential (MBMP) system for biogas production at mesophilic conditions for 21 days. X-ray diffraction and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy were carried out to establish the Ms Crystallite and active functional groups respectively. Scanning electronic microscopy coupled with energy dispersive X-ray spectrometer and elemental analysis were used to track and confirm NPs inclusion after the post-AD process. Coagulation at 50 mg/L and magnetic exposure time of 30 min showed above 85% treatability performance by Ms as compared to 70% for Alum. Owing to the slow kinetics of the AD process, additional NPs content in the digesters coupled with an external magnetic field improved their performance. Cumulative biogas yields of 1460 mL/d > 610 mL/d > 505 mL/d for Ms > Control > Alum respectively representing 80% > 61% > 52% of CH4 were attained. The modified Gompertz model shows that the presence of NPs shortens the lag phase of the control system with kinetics rate constants of 0.285 1/d (control) to 0.127 1/d (Ms) < 0.195 1/d (Alum). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Deactivation of a Vanadium-Based SCR Catalyst Used in a Biogas-Powered Euro VI Heavy-Duty Engine Installation
Catalysts 2020, 10(5), 552; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10050552 - 16 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
We have investigated how the exhaust gases from a heavy-duty Euro VI engine, powered with biogas impact a vanadium-based selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst in terms of performance. A full Euro VI emission control system was used and the accumulation of catalyst poisons [...] Read more.
We have investigated how the exhaust gases from a heavy-duty Euro VI engine, powered with biogas impact a vanadium-based selective catalytic reduction (SCR) catalyst in terms of performance. A full Euro VI emission control system was used and the accumulation of catalyst poisons from the combustion was investigated for the up-stream particulate filter as well as the SCR catalyst. The NOx reduction performance in terms of standard, fast and NO2-rich SCR was evaluated before and after exposure to exhaust from a biogas-powered engine for 900 h. The SCR catalyst retains a significant part of its activity towards NOx reduction after exposure to biogas exhaust, likely due to capture of catalyst poisons on the up-stream components where the deactivation of the oxidation catalyst is especially profound. At lower temperatures some deactivation of the first part of the SCR catalyst was observed which could be explained by a considerably higher surface V4+/V5+ ratio for this sample compared to the other samples. The higher value indicates that the reoxidation of V4+ to V5+ is partially hindered, blocking the redox cycle for parts of the active sites. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Photocatalytic BiOX Mortars under Visible Light Irradiation: Compatibility, NOx Efficiency and Nitrate Selectivity
Catalysts 2020, 10(2), 226; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10020226 - 14 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The use of new photocatalysts active under visible light in cement-based building materials represents one interesting alternative to improve the air quality in the urban areas. This work undertakes the feasibility of using BiOX (X = Cl and I) as an addition on [...] Read more.
The use of new photocatalysts active under visible light in cement-based building materials represents one interesting alternative to improve the air quality in the urban areas. This work undertakes the feasibility of using BiOX (X = Cl and I) as an addition on mortars for visible-light-driven NOx removal. The interaction between BiOX photocatalysts and cement matrix, and the influence of their addition on the inherent properties of the cement-based materials was studied. The NO removal by the samples ranking as follows BiOCl-cem > BiOI-cem > TiO2-cem. The higher efficiency under visible light of BiOCl-cem might be ascribed to the presence of oxygen vacancies together with a strong oxidation potential. BiOI-cem suffers a phase transformation of BiOI in alkaline media to an I-deficient bismuth oxide compound with poor visible light absorbance capability. However, BiOI-cem showed considerably higher nitrate selectivity that resulted in the highest NOx global removal efficiency. These results can make its use more environmentally sustainable than TiO2 and BiOCl cement composites. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Electrospinning a Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell
Catalysts 2019, 9(12), 975; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal9120975 - 21 Nov 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) offer new possibilities to harvest solar energy by using non-toxic inexpensive materials. Since they can generally be produced on flexible substrates, several research groups investigated possibilities to integrate DSSCs in textile fabrics, either by coating full fabrics with the [...] Read more.
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) offer new possibilities to harvest solar energy by using non-toxic inexpensive materials. Since they can generally be produced on flexible substrates, several research groups investigated possibilities to integrate DSSCs in textile fabrics, either by coating full fabrics with the DSSC layer structure or by producing fiber-shaped DSSCs which were afterwards integrated into a textile fabric. Here we show a new approach, electrospinning all solid layers of the DSSC. We report on electrospinning the counter electrode with a graphite catalyst followed by a thin nonconductive barrier layer and preparing the front electrode by electrospinning semiconducting TiO2 from a polymer solution dyed with natural dyes. Both electrodes were coated with a conductive polymer before the system was finally filled with a fluid electrolyte. While the efficiency is lower than for glass-based cells, possible problems such as short-circuits—which often occur in fiber-based DSSCs—did not occur in this proof-of-concept. Since graphite particles did not fully cover the counter electrode in this first study, and the typical bathochromic shift indicating adsorption of dye molecules on the TiO2 layer was not observed, several ways are open to increase the efficiency in forthcoming studies. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperPerspective
Heterogeneous Photocatalysis Scalability for Environmental Remediation: Opportunities and Challenges
Catalysts 2020, 10(10), 1109; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10101109 - 25 Sep 2020
Abstract
Heterogeneous photocatalysis is an ecofriendly technique for purifying organic pollutants in environmental systems. While pilot-scale photoreactors have explored photocatalytic system upscalibility, their practical implementation is restricted for various reasons. These include feed composition alteration, complicated photoreactor designs, high operation and synthesis costs, photocatalyst [...] Read more.
Heterogeneous photocatalysis is an ecofriendly technique for purifying organic pollutants in environmental systems. While pilot-scale photoreactors have explored photocatalytic system upscalibility, their practical implementation is restricted for various reasons. These include feed composition alteration, complicated photoreactor designs, high operation and synthesis costs, photocatalyst poisoning, low quantum yield under solar irradiation, fast exciton recombination, and low reuse or regeneration capabilities. In this paper, we highlight the photocatalyst scalability challenges for real-world applications. We also provide an in-depth discussion on photocatalyst opportunities for effective air and water pollution control. Lastly, we offer a contemporary perspective on photocatalysis scale-up for the real environmental treatment. Full article
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Novel p–n junction Ag3PO4/(BiO)2CO3 photocatalyst with highly efficient visible light photocatalytic activity for nitrogen oxide abatement
Authors: Wingkei Hoa,*, Bicheng Zhu, Shun Cheng Lee
Abstract: Novel p–n junction Ag3PO4/(BiO)2CO3 photocatalysts with different contents of Ag3PO4 were prepared by hydrothermal technique and precipitation method. The as-prepared samples were characterized by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, UV–visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, N2 absorption–desorption isotherms, and photoluminescence spectroscopy. The photocatalytic activity of these samples was evaluated by NO removal under visible light irradiation for 30 min. Composites with surface area of 14–19 m2/g can absorb more visible light than pure (BiO)2CO3. Their recombination rates of electron–hole pairs were significantly reduced because of the introduction of Ag3PO4 and the formation of p–n junction. Compared to pure (BiO)2CO3 and Ag3PO4, Ag3PO4/(BiO)2CO3 composites indicate enhanced photocatalytic activity for NO removal. Optimal weight ratio of Ag3PO4 : (BiO)2CO3 was found to be 50% and NO removal ratio of the corresponding sample APO/BOC-50 was 56.0%, which was twice that of Ag3PO4 and thrice that of (BiO)2CO3.

Title: 2D/2D heterojunction of ultrathin Ti3C2 MXene/WO3 nanosheets for improved visible-light-driven photodegradation of RhB
Authors: Wanying Lei 1,*, Xin Pang 1, Hudie Yuan 1, Jian Wei 1 and Gang Liu 2,*
Affiliation: CAS Key Laboratory of Standardization and Measurement for Nanotechnology, CAS Center for Excellence in Nanoscience, National Center for Nanoscience and Technology, Beijing 100190
Abstract: Developing non-noble-metal catalysts is a prerequisite for the large-scale implementation of solar-driven photocatalytic technology. Herein, a 2D/2D nanoscale heterojunction composed of ultrathin Ti3C2 MXene and WO3 nanosheets was fabricated by a facile sonication approach. The resulting Ti3C2/WO3 nanohybrids was characterized by X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, UV–Vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The Ti3C2/WO3 nanohybrids exhibited Ti3C2 content-dependent photoactivity toward RhB photocatalytic degradation under visible-light illumination. 7 wt% Ti3C2/WO3 nanohybrids exhibited the greatest photoactivity, which was 3.2 times than that of pristine WO3 nanosheets in terms of the apparent rate constant. The enhanced photoactivity of Ti3C2/WO3 nanohybrids was attributed to the fast electron transfer and associated efficient interfacial charge separation originated from the superior electronic conductivity of Ti3C2, in addition to the intimate interfacial contact and the Schottky junction formed between Ti3C2 and WO3. This study provides a feasible protocol for constructing low-dimensional heterojunctions containing a cost-effective cocatalyst applicable in solar-to-chemical energy conversion and beyond.

Title: Active site engineering on two dimensional layered transition metal dichalcogenides and their applications in photo electro chemical energy
Authors: Chueh An Chen a , Chiao Lin Lee a , Dung Sheng Tsai b ,,**, Chuan Pei Lee a,a,*
Affiliation: a Department of Applied Physics and Chemistry, University of Taipei, Taipei 10048, Taiwan b Department of Electronic Engineering, Chung Yuan Christian University, Taoyuan City 32023, Taiwan
Abstract: Two dimensional layered transition metal dichalcogenides (2D layered TMDs) are a chemically diverse class of compounds having variable band gaps and remarkable electrochemical properties (i.e., electrocatalytic ability), which make them to be the potential materials for the applications in the field of photo electro chemical energy . To date, 2D layered TMDs have been wildly used in water splitting systems , dye sensitized solar cells , supercapacitors and photo catalysis systems etc., and the pertinent devices exhibit good performances. H owever, several reports also indicated that the active sites for catalytic reaction are mainly located on the edge site of 2D layered TMDs, and their basal plane shows poor active toward catalysis reaction. A ccordingly, many studies reported various approaches namely a ctive site engineering to address this issue , including the formation of defect sites (i.e., chalcogenide or metal vacancy ), heteroatom doping , na no sized TMD pieces (e.g., quantum dots (GDs)) GDs)), nano sized catal yst decoration, single atom layer ed design and highl y curv ed structures etc. In this article, we are going to provide a short review for the a ctive site engineering on two dimensional layered transition metal dichalcogenides and their applications in photo electro chemical energy Finally, the future perspectives for 2D layered TMD catalysts will also briefly discussed.

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