Reactor modeling in heterogeneous photocatalysis: toxicity and biodegradability assessment

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Photocatalysis employing titanium dioxide is a useful method to degrade a wide variety of organic and inorganic pollutants from water and air. However, the application of this advanced oxidation process at industrial scale requires the development of mathematical models to design and scale-up photocatalytic reactors. In the present work, intrinsic kinetic expressions previously obtained in a laboratory reactor are employed to predict the performance of a bench scale reactor of different configuration and operating conditions. 4-Chlorophenol was chosen as the model pollutant. The toxicity and biodegradability of the irradiated mixture in the bench photoreactor was also assessed. Good agreement was found between simulation and experimental data. The root mean square error of the estimations was 9.9%. The photocatalytic process clearly enhances the biodegradability of the reacting mixture, and the initial toxicity of the pollutant was significantly reduced by the treatment.

Keywords: biodegradability, 4-chlorophenol, kinetics, photocatalysis, reactor modelling, toxicity

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