Doping TiO2 with CuSO4 enhances visible light photocatalytic activity for organic pollutant degradation

Abstract

Photocatalysis is one of the most promising advanced oxidation processes due to the capability of solid catalyst to continuously produce oxidant species under light irradiation. The use of conventional UV lamps is high cost intensive, which undermines the possible implementation in developing countries. Visible light active photocatalysts can overcome these challenges and find a market opportunity for competitive technology implementation. This work proposes the synthesis of visible light active catalyst following a facile sol-gel synthesis that introduces CuSO4 as dopant in TiO2. Results present complete abatement of methylene blue in 120 min of treatment under 50 mW cm−2 of blue light (λ = 450 nm), while commercial P25 TiO2 presented null abatement under identical conditions. Synthesis parameters including dopant level and calcination temperature allowed defining optimum synthesis conditions based on material characteristics modification and catalytic activity enhancement. A doping level of 0.21 mol% CuSO4 was identified as optimum condition to enable visible light photocatalysis of doped TiO2 catalysts calcined at 300 °C. Finally, operational parameters were evaluated defining a wide range of pH operation under 3.0 g L−1 of catalyst dose to treat up to 20 g L−1 of highly recalcitrant phenothiazine dye. These optimum conditions allowed complete dye removal under visible light after 120 min of treatment.

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Funding

This research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan (NSC 101-2923-E-041-001-MY2) and the Engineering Research and Development for Technology—Department of Science and Technology, Philippines.

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Correspondence to Ming-Chun Lu.

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Highlights

• CuSO4-doped TiO2 photocatalysts were synthesized by facile sol-gel method.

• Effect of doping and calcination temperature on visible photocatalytic activity described.

• CuSO4-doped TiO2 enabled visible light photocatalytic degradation of recalcitrant organics.

• Operational variables impact on CuSO4-doped TiO2 photocatalytic performance.

Responsible editor: Suresh Pillai

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de Luna, M.D.G., Garcia-Segura, S., Mercado, C.H. et al. Doping TiO2 with CuSO4 enhances visible light photocatalytic activity for organic pollutant degradation. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 24604–24613 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-05789-5

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Keywords

  • Persistent organic pollutants
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Visible light photocatalyst
  • Nanotechnology
  • Advanced oxidation process