Only light, aerial oxygen, and a catalyst are needed to remove pollutants from water. RUB researchers led by Prof. Radim Beránek collaborate with colleagues from seven different countries in order to develop a photocatalyst that is efficient enough to be profitable.
Catalysts for painting: Together with their international colleagues, RUB researchers develop catalysts that detoxify water with the aid of sunlight and aerial oxygen. They aim to fabricate the catalysts as a liquid paint.
Image: Radim Beránek
For that purpose, they combine sunlight-absorbing semiconductors and nanostructured materials which they optimize for electron transfer processes. The aim is to implement the newly developed photocatalysts into a liquid paint with which photoreactors can easily be coated. The EU supports the project within its 7th Framework Programme (FP7) with 3.7 million Euro funding for three years.
Current problems of photocatalysis
People from many countries of the world extensively use pesticides which contaminate drinking and irrigation water with toxic organic compounds. In rural areas of Vietnam, herbicides and dioxins, resistant to degradation, made their way into the water cycle during the Vietnam war.
Cancer and abnormalities in newborns can be the consequence. “Photocatalysis is potentially one of the cheapest and most efficient methods for purifying water from pollutants,” Radim Beránek says. Sunlight and oxygen establish oxidizing conditions under which toxins are easily degraded into non-harmful substances like water and carbon dioxide. Up to now the process, however, faces two problems: degradation rates are too low and assembly of the needed photoreactors is too expensive.
The aim: cheeper and more efficient catalysts
Within the project “4G-PHOTOCAT”, the researchers aim to develop cost-efficient photocatalysts with a considerably improved degradation rate. Therefore they fabricate innovative composite materials consisting of semiconductors and nanostructured metal oxides. In order to achieve the optimal architecture for the product, they employ advanced chemical deposition techniques with a high degree of control over composition and morphology. “Our ultimate goal is to implement the newly developed photocatalysts into a liquid paint,” Radim Beránek says. “Photoreactors painted with that liquid can be used, for example, for water decontamination in remote rural areas of Vietnam.”
“4G-PHOTOCAT “allies the expertise of seven academic and three industrial partners from five European countries and two Southeast Asian countries. At the RUB, Prof. Dr. Radim Beránek collaborates with Prof. Dr. Roland A. Fischer (Inorganic Chemistry II), Prof. Dr. Martin Muhler, and Dr. Jennifer Strunk (Industrial Chemistry). The international collaborators include scientists from the University College London, J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry in Prague, Jagiellonian University Krakow, University of Helsinki, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, and Hanoi University of Agriculture. Furthermore, industrial partners from Finland (Picosun), Czech Republic (Advanced Materials), and Vietnam (Q&A) have joined the team.
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Radim Beránek, Photoactive Materials Group, Faculty of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Ruhr-Universität, 44780 Bochum, Germany, Tel. +49/234-32-29431, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Editorial journalist: Dr. Julia Weiler
Dr. Josef König | idw
Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering