The removal of organics by photoelectrocatalytic oxidation offers a viable option to remove the contaminants at low concentrations. In this paper, we propose a BiVO4 thin films synthesized via spray pyrolysis for photoelectrocatalyic oxidation of phenol with solar light. We compare the properties of BiVO4 with those of the commonly used photocatalyst TiO2. In addition, BiVO4 films with W gradient doping were fabricated and tested for improving the photocatalytic performance of BiVO4. X-ray diffraction, atomic force microscopy, incident photon to current efficiency and spectrophotometry have been conducted for BiVO4 films of different thicknesses, as well as for TiO2. The electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and dark conductivity measurements were conducted. Phenol removal has been measured for both the TiO2 and BiVO4 samples. The best performance was found to be for a 300 nm undoped BiVO4 film, being able to reduce the phenol concentration up to 30.0% of the initial concentration in four hours.
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Ruud Hendrikx at the Department of Materials Science and Engineering of the Delft University of Technology is acknowledged for the x-ray analysis. Bartek Trzesniewski and Marco Valenti from the Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage (MECS) in TU Delft are acknowledged for the assistance in BiVO4 deposition and IPCE measurements.
This work is part of the research program of the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), which is part of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).
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Bennani, Y., Perez-Rodriguez, P., Alani, M.J. et al. Photoelectrocatalytic oxidation of phenol for water treatment using a BiVO4 thin-film photoanode. Journal of Materials Research 31, 2627–2639 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1557/jmr.2016.290