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Solar degradation of pollutants of emerging concern: photoreactors and innovative treatments

Grant number: 18/21271-6
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: February 01, 2019 - January 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Antonio Carlos Silva Costa Teixeira
Grantee:Antonio Carlos Silva Costa Teixeira
Home Institution: Escola Politécnica (EP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Bruno Ramos ; Cátia Alexandra Leça Graça ; Fabiane de Jesus Trindade ; Sergio Brochsztain


Micropollutants of emerging concern have become an important technological challenge to be faced by 21st century engineers. Pesticides, pharmaceuticals, hormones, surfactants, personal care products and other anthropogenic substances are evermore present in aquatic ecosystems and even in water supplies, and have been related to adverse effects to the biota and to human health. To overcome this challenge, it is necessary to develop feasible and attractive technologies to minimize their discharge. A viable alternative involves the use of sunlight, an energy source able to degrade, with minimal environmental footprints and low cost, organic pollutants in aqueous streams. In this direction, this project proposes the development of advanced oxidation processes optimized and tailored for the maximum utilization of the sunlight spectrum, and which are able to efficiently overcome the intrinsic limitations of this natural light source. To achieve these goals, it is proposed (i) the development of a hybrid flat plate photoreactor able to operate autonomously to supplement the intermittence of solar radiation; (ii) the optimization of homogeneous photocatalytic processes using persulfate salts adapted for sunlight absorption; and (iii) the design of novel ZnO-Ag0 and WO3-Ag0 nanoparticle photocatalysts with optimized properties and red-shifted absorption spectra. The project aims at achieving original scientific and technological contributions in the context of growing concern over the quality of water resources. (AU)