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.
- Advanced Water Purification Project could be expanded in California Padre Dam Municipal Water District (PDMWD) is working with Helix Water District, the City of El Cajon and the County of... Read More >
- First phase of Welsh Water's solar power project completed Renewable energy company Dulas has completed the first phase of Dwr Cymru Welsh Water's largest solar PV project. The... Read More >
- Irish treatment plant meets EU Shellfish Directive A new wastewater treatment plant, designed to meet the demands of the European Shellfish Directive, has started operation... Read More >
- Round Table: Phosphorus Removal and Wastewater Innovation In the latest WWT round table, participants discussed the progress of innovative technologies for phosphorus removal, the... Read More >
- Water Innovators 2017 - lend us your skills! In the latest blog from WaterAid, Rob Fuller highlights the need for innovation in solving water challenges in the... Read More >
- Interview: Professor Dragan Savic, Exeter University "If you can't measure, you can't manage - and the most uncertain element of water management is the demand." Read More >
- Research Notes: Farming algae to treat wastewater A collaborative project between the University of Bath's Water Research & Innovation Centre (WIRC) and Wessex Water is... Read More >
- Innovation Zone: NUTREM Biological Nutrient Removal This month, we look at an enhanced version of SBR technology which can remove P and other nutrients from wastewater Read More >
- Divisional Operations Director Castle Water is the leading independent water retailer in the UK, and one of the fastest growing utility supply companies, supplying services... Read more here.
- Project Manager (Electrical & Instrumentation) SGN operates over 74,000km of gas mains and services in Scotland and the south of England. Whoever your supplier is, we have a responsibility... Read more here.