Photocatalytic degradation of pharmaceutical micro-pollutants using ZnO

  • Rana Sabouni
  • Hassan Gomaa
Review Article


This research paper presents the results of an experimental investigation of the degradation of three different contaminants including progesterone (PGS), ibuprofen (IBU), and naproxen (NAP) using ZnO as the photocatalyst and ultraviolet (UV) light as a source for catalysts activation. Two operating parameters, namely, catalyst loading and initial concentration of contaminants, were tested in a batch photocatalytic reactor. To demonstrate the large-scale applications, experiments were also conducted in a submerged membrane photocatalytic reactor. It has proven that ZnO photocatalyst degraded the three contaminants very efficiently under almost all the studied experimental conditions, with efficiency rates of 92.3, 94.5, and 98.7 % for PSG, IBU, and NAP, respectively. The photodegradation kinetics study was performed to calculate the reaction rate constant, which is found to follow pseudo-first order kinetics. The membrane photocatalytic reactor was efficient to remove pollutants and it is observed that the degradation rate increases with increasing the membrane oscillation frequency approaching that of the stirred reactor.


Photocatalytic batch reactor ZnO Photocatalytic degradation Progesterone Ibuprofen Naproxen Oscillatory membrane reactor 


Funding information

The authors are grateful for the American University of Sharjah for the financial support Grant # FRG15-R-41.

Supplementary material

11356_2018_4051_MOESM1_ESM.tif (4.4 mb)
ESM1 (TIF 4551 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringAmerican University of SharjahSharjahUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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