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Study of copper and copper oxide photoelectrodes for wastewater treatment after the COVID-19 pandemic

Grant number: 21/11326-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2022
Effective date (End): December 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Physical-Chemistry
Principal researcher:Lucia Helena Mascaro Sales
Grantee:Roberta Yonara Nascimento Reis
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07296-2 - CDMF - Center for the Development of Functional Materials, AP.CEPID


Due to the ineffectiveness of the methods usually used for the treatment of wastewater and sewage in treatment plants, the development of methods that can be promising in the degradation of pollutants is extremely important. Given the current global scenario in which there is a pandemic crisis that emerged in 2019 from the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, also known as the newcoronavirus that causes COVID-19, scientific studies try to understand the possible routes of contamination, as well as the impact of the disease on various aspects such as the problem of contamination of water resources by pathogens and pharmaceutically active agents. The application of photocatalytic and photoelectrocatalytic processes has grown within the scientific community as they are promising and efficient technologies for this purpose. Therefore, the present work intends to study the efficiency of copper, cupric and cuprous oxide nanoparticles films in the degradation of pharmaceutically active agents applied in COVID-19 treatment protocols in photoelectrocatalysis configurations aiming at the large amount of these pollutants present in hospital and hospital sewage that are often disposed of without any prior treatment in water bodies. To obtain the films it is intended to apply microwave heat treatment methods for metallic copper nanoparticles, chemical reduction synthesis to obtain copper oxide nanoparticles coupled to different deposition methods (such as dip coating, spin coating and doctor-blade) and the electrodeposition of these nanoparticles. The morphological, structural and optical characterizations of the synthesized materials will be performed using the technique of x-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy and UV-Vis spectroscopy. The electrochemical characterizations of photoelectrodes such as cyclic and linear voltammetry will investigate the photocurrent densities and the viability of the materials for photoelectrochemical applications. The photocatalytic activity of photoelectrodes will be investigated through three configurations: photolysis, heterogeneous photocatalysis and photoelectrocatalysis against pharmaceutically active agents, with the analysis of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) to understand the species that are relevant in the degradation of pollutants of interest. After optimizing the experimental parameters and comparative studies, it is expected that the copper-based photoelectrodes proposed in the work will provide a promising performance in the treatment of effluents resulting from the pandemic of the new Coronavirus. (AU)

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