Sunlight can purify wastewater cheaper than commercial products
Chemists at the Australian National University (ANU) have found a way to use sunlight to purify wastewater rapidly and cheaply, and to make self-cleaning materials for buildings.
The technology uses modified titanium dioxide as a photocatalyst that works with sunlight, unlike other leading water purification products on the market that need ultraviolet light.
The research is published in Advanced Materials, and group leader Professor Yun Liu from ANU said the team's invention was 15 times more efficient than leading commercialised products. "With innovative chemistry design, we can use our photocatalyst to purify water with natural sunlight instead of UV light and dramatically reduce costs for operators," said Liu, from the ANU Research School of Chemistry.
"Our photocatalyst can completely decompose organic pollutants in wastewater in 20 minutes, compared with the leading commercialised products which take one hour to decompose only 26% of the same pollutants."
The new technology could be useful for treating water for human consumption and has potential applications in making self-cleaning building materials, including glass, and splitting water to make hydrogen fuel.
Photocatalysts can also be used to speed up chemical reactions used in industrial processes in automotive, construction, environmental, medical and other sectors. The team added nitrogen and niobium ions in pairs into the titanium dioxide to improve its performance as a photocatalyst.
Liu said: "It's an important breakthrough for science and industry, With four years of work done in this area we now understand the science, and can rationally design catalysts."
ANU conducted the research in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of New South Wales, Western Sydney University, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.
ANU has filed a provisional patent covering the discovery, which involved the design strategy, chemical composition and manufacturing approach.
- Veolia lands fifth MBBR deal with Severn Trent Veolia Water Technologies has won a contract to upgrade the treatment process at Severn Trent's Little Aston Wastewater... Read More >
- Improved sewage treatment needed to stop drug pollution in rivers Environmental charity CHEM Trust is calling for improvements to sewage and wastewater treatment to prevent river pollution... Read More >
- CDM Smith to design biosolids improvements in Dallas CDM Smith is to design comprehensive biosolids improvements at the Trinity River Authority's (TRA) 162MgD Central Regional... Read More >
- Paper power provides water quality test Experts at the University of Bath have created a screen-printed paper biosensor which can provide a simple, cheap test for... Read More >
- The Power of Drones for the Water Sector Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) better known as drones, have proved their value in many industrial applications and are... Read More >
- WWT presents Smart Water Networks conference 2018 With PR19 on the horizon and growing pressure on water companies to do more with less, smart systems and technology are... Read More >
- Water Industry Awards 2018: Last chance to enter! It's your last chance to enter The Water Industry Awards, organised by WWT and WET News, as the deadline for open for... Read More >
- Gasification of Sludge: Innovation in Action Yorkshire Water's advanced thermal conversion (ATC) gasification plant at Lower Brighouse WWTW has achieved a timely... Read More >