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Immobilized photocatalytic reactors: toward safe water for all

Aura Visan, Damon Rafieian, Wojciech Ogieglo, Rob G.H. Lammertink

Soft matter, Fluidics and Interfaces, MESA+ institute for nanotechnology, Faculty of Science and Technology,
University of Twente, P.O Box 217, 7500 Enschede, The Netherlands



Heterogeneous photocatalysis is a promising technology for environmental reme-

Accurate modeling for microreactors can be achieved by applying basic

Because simple models can facilitate in-

diation. However, commercial products for removing refractory compounds from

physical mechanism which makes them a pertinent method for extracting

dustrial design, the range where the light

wastewater are scarce. A progress in optimization requires that individual research

intrinsic kinetics.

independent model is an acceptable ap-

efforts can be combined which is possible only if an honest comparison between


Constant photon flux density!

proximation was determined.

them can be achieved. Intrinsic kinetics are of paramount importance. They are required for catalyst screening and necessary for comparing different reactor configurations. The real value for the reaction rate constant allows the evaluation of


mass transfer which is the main factor dictating the performance of a reactor.


catalyst thickness

The relative effectiveness factor quantifies the ratio between the reaction rate in the


A previously cleaned silicon substrate was spin coated with a TiO2 commercial

dispersion and sintered at 500 C. The film has a uniform porous structure. The

absorption coefficient

presence of both diffusion and light limitation and the reaction rate affected only by
diffusion. Consequently, it shows how the reaction rate diminishes due to the attenua-



tion of light. The asymptotic trend suggests the equivalence between the two models

thickness, porosity and optical absorption coefficient of the film are investigated

when diffusion takes over and no further conversion can be sought.

using ellipsometry.
Models for both light independent (LIM) and light dependent (LDM) ki-

evaluate catalyst

netics were built. The conversion rates are very encouraging with reaction


rate constants orders of magnitude higher than previously reported values. The models describe very well the experimental data for multiple res-

gives directly the

idence times, incoming light intensities and catalyst thicknesses. Cortisone

maximum conversion

21-acetate (CA) is considered as the pharmaceutical contaminant.

> 90% degradation

under 18 sec!

The model is
user friendly
and complete!


The relative effectiveness factor gives the optimum catalyst thickness for a certain absorption coefficient and incident light intensity, while the model predicts
the necessary residence time for certain reactor dimensions and degradation requirements. Rational technological improvements are additional benefits of the
mathematical representation. Reverse engineering can be applied to identify
sensitive parameters worth tuning.

Visan, A., Rafieian, D., Ogieglo, W., & Lammertink, R. G. H. (2014). Modeling intrinsic kinetics in immobilized photocatalytic microreactors. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 150-151, 93100.