Radical Filtration: Photocatalytic membranes for water purification

Shuyana A. Heredia Deba (PhD Candidate), Rob Lammertink (promotor), Bas Wols (supervisor Wetsus), Doekle Yntema (supervisor Wetsus)

Duration: 2017-2021

Funding: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 665874 and Wetsus

One of the improvements regarding water purification is to treat the water more effectively and economically, avoiding the production of secondary waste pollutants and ensuring a safe water supply. Advanced oxidation techniques and membrane filtration have attracted increasing attention to treat and purify water. Among these methods, photocatalytic oxidation with titanium dioxide (TiO2) is widely studied as this treatment avoids the generation of secondary solid waste. Furthermore, the use of membranes has gained an important place in chemical technology and has a broad range of applications.

Photocatalytic membranes, transport model, AOP, TiO2.

Technological challenges
The main challenge is to design a reactor that ensures efficient irradiation of the photocatalytic membrane and filtration, avoiding the fouling of the membrane. This requires fundamental understanding of the materials, photochemistry and transport processes.

Research goals
This research seeks to provide a novel water treatment method, based on the synergy between photocatalytic oxidation and membrane separation within a single material to remove micropollutants and inactivate microorganisms, thereby providing new safe drinking water solutions. One of the research questions is to elucidate and optimize the synergy between membrane rejection and photocatalytic conversion by studying the transport and distribution of the UV light and its interplay with the chemical oxidation process.