Adsorption and photocatalytic degradation of pharmaceuticals and pesticides by carbon doped-TiO2 coated on zeolites under solar light irradiation

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

To evaluate the performance of zeolite-supported carbon-doped TiO2 composite catalysts toward target pollutants under solar light irradiation, the adsorption and photocatalytic degradation of 18 pharmaceuticals and pesticides with distinguishing features (molecular size and volume, and photolysis) were investigated using mordenite zeolites with SiO2/Al2O3 ratios of 18 and 240. Different quantities of carbon-doped TiO2 were coated on the zeolites, and then the finished composite catalysts were tested in demineralized, surface, and hospital wastewater samples, respectively. The composite photocatalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and surface area and porosity analyses. Results showed that a dispersed layer of carbon-doped TiO2 is formed on the zeolite surface; this layer blocks the micropores of zeolites and reduces their surface area. However, these reductions did not significantly affect adsorption onto the zeolites. Our results demonstrated that zeolite-supported carbon-doped TiO2 systems can effectively degrade 18 pharmaceuticals and pesticides in demineralized water under natural and simulated solar light irradiation. In surface and hospital wastewaters, zeolite-supported carbon-doped TiO2 systems present excellent anti-interference capability against radical scavengers and competitive organics for pollutants removal, and higher pollutants adsorption on zeolites evidently enhances the removal rate of target pollutants in surface and hospital wastewater samples with a complicated matrix.

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