Journal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
UVA LEDs and solar light photocatalytic oxidation/ozonation as a tertiary treatment using supported TiO2: With an eye on the photochemical properties of the secondary effluent


– SE treatment by PCOz using supported TiO2 and solar light/UVA LEDs.

– Photolysis of EfOM generates ROS and contribute to pollutants removal.

– Photolytic/photocatalytic performance affected by pollutants content. 

– In SE, photocatalytic activity of supported TiO2>>> TiO2 P25.


Photocatalytic oxidation/ozonation of a mixture of eight pharmaceuticals added to a secondary effluent, SE, of an urban wastewater treatment plant has been studied using TiO2 supported on commercial Al2O3/SiO2 ceramic foams. As radiation source UVA LEDs (365 nm) or solar radiation was used. Pharmaceuticals were added at high (1 mg L−1 each) or relatively low (50 μg L−1 each) concentration, contributing 25% and 1.5% to the initial TOC, respectively. Under both types of radiation, the photolysis of SE generated reactive species capable of degrading the contaminants (indirect photolysis), this effect being greater at lower initial concentration of pollutants. Lower concentration of contaminants also favoured their degradation and the SE mineralization by photocatalytic oxidation, whereas its effect on ozonation was low. The best results were obtained by photocatalytic ozonation, especially in terms of COD removal, without observing any synergism or antagonism between O3/Radiation and TiO2/Radiation systems. In SE, the performance of the supported catalyst resulted much better than that of suspended TiO2 P25, which showed almost no activity in this matrix. Through different cycles of reuse, the stability of the supported catalyst was confirmed.


Ceramic foams (CF) of mullite (Al2O3/SiO2 20 ppi, Vukopor®, Lanik, Czech Republic), were used as support. From commercial pieces (nominal size 50x50x22 mm), 30 mm diameter x 22 mm width and 3.1 ± 0.3 g average weight pieces were obtained.


 After several washings with boiling UPw and drying in a stove, TiO2 immobilization was carried out by dip-coating (dip-coater ND-DC, Nadetech Innovations, Spain) following the procedure already reported.