Removal of VOCs by photocatalysis process using adsorption enhanced TiO2-SiO2 catalyst

Linda Zou, Yonggang Luo, Martin Hooper, Eric Hu

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204 Scopus citations


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) exist widely in both the indoor and outdoor environment. The main contributing sources of VOCs are motor vehicle exhaust and solvent utilization. Some VOCs are toxic and carcinogenic to human health, such as benzene. In this study, TiO2-SiO2 based photocatalysts were synthesized using the sol-gel method, with high surface areas of 274.1-421.1 m2/g obtained. Two types of pellets were used as catalysts in a fixed-bed reactor installed with a UV black light lamp. Experiments were conducted to compare their efficiencies in degrading the VOCs. Toluene was used as the VOC indicator. When the toluene laden gas stream passed through the photocatalytic reactor, the removal efficiencies were determined using a FTIR multi-gas analyser, which was connected to the outlet of the reactor to analyse the toluene concentrations. As the TiO2-SiO2 pellets used have a high adsorption capacity, they had dual functions as a photocatalyst and adsorbent in the hybrid photocatalysis and adsorption system. The experiments demonstrated that the porous photocatalyst with very high adsorptive capacity enhanced the subsequent photocatalysis reactions and lead to a positive synergistic effect. The catalyst can be self-regenerated by photocatalytic oxidation of the adsorbed VOCs. When the UV irradiation and feeding gas is continuous, a destruction efficiency of about 25% was achieved over a period of 20 h. Once the system was designed and operated into adsorption/regeneration mode, a higher removal efficiency of about 55% was maintained. It was found that the catalyst pellets with a higher surface area (421 m2/g) achieved higher conversion efficiency (100%) for a longer period than those with a lower surface area. A full spectrum scan was carried out using a Bio-rad Infrared spectrometer, finding that the main components of the treated gas stream leaving the reactor, along with untreated toluene, were CO2 and water. The suspected intermediates of aliphatic hydrocarbons and CO were found in minimal amounts or were non detectable. The kinetic rate constants were calculated from the experimental results, it appeared that the stronger adsorption capacity, i.e. larger specific surface area, the higher conversion efficiency would be achieved.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)959-964
Number of pages6
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006


  • Adsorption
  • Chemical composition
  • Efficiency
  • Photocatalysis
  • Synthesize
  • Titanium dioxide
  • Toluene
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)


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