Photocatalysts for degradation of dyes in industrial effluents: Opportunities and challenges

  • Hassan Anwer
  • Asad Mahmood
  • Jechan Lee
  • Ki-Hyun KimEmail author
  • Jae-Woo ParkEmail author
  • Alex C. K. Yip
Review Article


Discharging dye contaminants into water is a major concern around the world. Among a variety of methods to treat dye-contaminated water, photocatalytic degradation has gained attention as a tool for treating the colored water. Herein, we review the recent advancements in photocatalysis for dye degradation in industrial effluents by categorizing photocatalyst materials into three generations. First generation photocatalysts are composed of single-component materials (e.g., TiO2, ZnO, and CdS), while second generation photocatalysts are composed of multiple components in a suspension (e.g., WO3/NiWO4, BiOI/ZnTiO3, and C3N4/Ag3VO4). Photocatalysts immobilized on solid substrates are regarded as third generation materials (e.g., FTO/WO3-ZnO, Steel/TiO2-WO3, and Glass/P-TiO2). Photocatalytic degradation mechanisms, factors affecting the dye degradation, and the lesser-debated uncertainties related to the photocatalysis are also discussed to offer better insights into environmental applications. Furthermore, quantum yields of different photocatalysts are calculated, and a performance evaluation method is proposed to compare photocatalyst systems for dye degradation. Finally, we discuss the present limitations of photocatalytic dye degradation for field applications and the future of the technology.


photocatalyst dye wastewater degradation mechanism performance evaluation 


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K. H. K. and J. W. P. acknowledge support made by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT, & Future Planning Grant Nos. 2016R1E1A1A01940995 and 2018R1A2A1A05023555, respectively.


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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringHanyang UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Department of Environmental and Safety EngineeringAjou UniversitySuwonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Chemical and Process EngineeringUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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