Combining activated carbon adsorption with heterogeneous photocatalytic oxidation : lack of synergy for biologically treated greywater and tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether
The aim of the study was to evaluate whether the addition of activated carbon in the photocatalytic oxidation of biologically pretreated greywater and of a polar aliphatic compound gives synergy, as previously demonstrated with phenol. Photocatalytic oxidation kinetics were recorded with fivefold concentrated biologically pretreated greywater and with aqueous tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether solutions using a UV lamp and the photocatalyst TiO 2 P25 in the presence and the absence of powdered activated carbon. The synergy factor, SF, was quantified as the ratio of photocatalytic oxidation rate constant in the presence of powdered activated carbon to the rate constant without activated carbon. No synergy was observed for the greywater concentrate (SF≈ 1). For the aliphatic compound, tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether, addition of activated carbon actually had an inhibiting effect on photocatalysis (SF<1), while synergy was confirmed in reference experiments using aqueous phenol solutions. The absence of synergy for the greywater concentrate can be explained by low adsorbability of its organic constituents by activated carbon. Inhibition of the photocatalytic oxidation of tetraethylene glycol dimethyl ether by addition of powdered activated carbon was attributed to shading of the photocatalyst by the activated carbon particles. It was assumed that synergy in the hybrid process was limited to aromatic organics. Regardless of the lack of synergy in the case of biologically pretreated greywater, the addition of powdered activated carbon is advantageous since, due to additional adsorptive removal of organics, photocatalytic oxidation resulted in a 60% lower organic concentration when activated carbon was present after the same UV irradiation time. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.