Special Issue "Composite Photocatalytic Materials for Environmental Technologies; Water Purification and Hydrogen Generation"

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Advanced Composites".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Hrvoje Kušić
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: water treatment; advanced oxidation processes; solar photocatalysis; contaminants of emerging concern
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Fernando Fresno

Guest Editor
Photoactivated Processes Unit, IMDEA Energy Institute, Madrid, Spain
Interests: photocatalysis, inorganic semiconductors, photoreforming, CO2 reduction
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Ana Loncaric Bozic

Guest Editor
Faculty of Chemical Engineering and Technology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Interests: water pollution; water treatment; advanced oxidation processes; environmental fate of emerging contaminants; toxicity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Accessible clean water and energy resources are, at present, among the highest priorities sustaining economic growth and societal wellbeing. The innovative applications of nanosized materials, among others, involve the harvesting of solar irradiation to purify water and supply energy. The underlying mechanism of photocatalytic processes for water purification and photoelectrochemical processes for energy conversion is basically the same; both rely on the formation of electron/hole (e–/h+) pairs at a semiconducting material upon its excitation by light with sufficient photon energy. Harvesting a broader spectrum of solar irradiation involves lowering of the band gap of the semiconducting material whilst inhibiting the recombination of photogenerated charge carriers. Strategies include doping with nonmetals, incorporation or deposition of noble metals (ions), and material engineering solutions based on composites formation using transition metals, carbon nanotubes, dye sensitizers, conductive polymers, graphene (oxide), and semiconducting materials. Tailoring of composite materials is currently the focus of scientific research worldwide aiming at increased effectiveness, unselectivity towards target pollutants, long-term stability, and durability in solar driven processes for water purification and hydrogen generation.

This Special Issue is aimed at covering recent research and novel trends in the field of development, synthesis, preparation, characterization, and application of composite photocatalytic materials for environmental technologies; water purification; and hydrogen generation. Full papers, short communications, and reviews in the field are welcome. Mini-reviews with an overview on the state-of-the-art with future perspectives and trends in this domain will be also considered.

The Editors welcome contributions highlighting the role of composite photocatalytic materials for environmental technologies without any restrictions regarding the nature of the catalyst and the preparation method, as well as the targeted pollutants.

Prof. Hrvoje Kušić
Dr. Fernando Fresno
Prof. Ana Loncaric Bozic
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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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. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2000 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

  • Solar photocatalysis
  • Water purification
  • Water splitting
  • Composite photocatalyst material
  • Z-scheme
  • Surface plasmon resonance

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
One-Pot Synthesis of Sulfur-Doped TiO2/Reduced Graphene Oxide Composite (S-TiO2/rGO) With Improved Photocatalytic Activity for the Removal of Diclofenac From Water
Materials 2020, 13(7), 1621; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13071621 (registering DOI) - 01 Apr 2020
Abstract
Sulfur-doped TiO2 (S-TiO2) composites with reduced graphene oxide (rGO), wt. % of rGO equal to 0.5%, 2.75%, and 5.0%, were prepared by a one-pot solvothermal procedure. The aim was to improve photocatalytic performance in comparison to TiO2 under simulated [...] Read more.
Sulfur-doped TiO2 (S-TiO2) composites with reduced graphene oxide (rGO), wt. % of rGO equal to 0.5%, 2.75%, and 5.0%, were prepared by a one-pot solvothermal procedure. The aim was to improve photocatalytic performance in comparison to TiO2 under simulated solar irradiation for the treatment of diclofenac (DCF) in aqueous medium. The obtained composites were characterized for physical-chemical properties using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), X-ray diffractograms (XRD), Raman, scanning electron microscopy (SEM)/energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), Brauner Emmett Teller (BET), and photoluminescence (PL) analyses, indicating successful sulfur doping and inclusion of rGO. Sulfur doping and rGO have successfully led to a decrease in photogenerated charge recombination. However, both antagonistic and synergistic effects toward DCF treatment were observed, with the latter being brought forward by higher wt.% rGO. The composite with 5.0 wt.% rGO has shown the highest DCF conversion at pH 4 compared to that obtained by pristine TiO2, despite lower DCF adsorption during the initial dark period. The expected positive effects of both sulfur doping and rGO on charge recombination were found to be limited because of the subpar interphase contact with the composite and incomplete reduction of the GO precursor. Consequent unfavorable interactions between rGO and DCF negatively influenced the activity of the studied S-TiO2/rGO photocatalyst under simulated solar irradiation. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Recent Achievements in Development of TiO2-Based Composite Photocatalytic Materials for Solar Driven Water Purification and Water Splitting
Materials 2020, 13(6), 1338; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13061338 - 15 Mar 2020
Abstract
Clean water and the increased use of renewable energy are considered to be two of the main goals in the effort to achieve a sustainable living environment. The fulfillment of these goals may include the use of solar-driven photocatalytic processes that are found [...] Read more.
Clean water and the increased use of renewable energy are considered to be two of the main goals in the effort to achieve a sustainable living environment. The fulfillment of these goals may include the use of solar-driven photocatalytic processes that are found to be quite effective in water purification, as well as hydrogen generation. H2 production by water splitting and photocatalytic degradation of organic pollutants in water both rely on the formation of electron/hole (e/h+) pairs at a semiconducting material upon its excitation by light with sufficient photon energy. Most of the photocatalytic studies involve the use of TiO2 and well-suited model compounds, either as sacrificial agents or pollutants. However, the wider application of this technology requires the harvesting of a broader spectrum of solar irradiation and the suppression of the recombination of photogenerated charge carriers. These limitations can be overcome by the use of different strategies, among which the focus is put on the creation of heterojunctions with another narrow bandgap semiconductor, which can provide high response in the visible light region. In this review paper, we report the most recent advances in the application of TiO2 based heterojunction (semiconductor-semiconductor) composites for photocatalytic water treatment and water splitting. This review article is subdivided into two major parts, namely Photocatalytic water treatment and Photocatalytic water splitting, to give a thorough examination of all achieved progress. The first part provides an overview on photocatalytic degradation mechanism principles, followed by the most recent applications for photocatalytic degradation and mineralization of contaminants of emerging concern (CEC), such as pharmaceuticals and pesticides with a critical insight into removal mechanism, while the second part focuses on fabrication of TiO2-based heterojunctions with carbon-based materials, transition metal oxides, transition metal chalcogenides, and multiple composites that were made of three or more semiconductor materials for photocatalytic water splitting. Full article
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