Disinfection of urban effluents using solar TiO2 photocatalysis: A study of significance of dissolved oxygen, temperature, type of microorganism and water matrix

Irene García-Fernández, Isabel Fernández-Calderero, María Inmaculada Polo-López, Pilar Fernandez-Ibanez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The enhancement of current technologies used to treat polluted water is one of the most importantchallenges in water research. The application of physico-chemical treatments could reduce the loadof chemical and biological pollutants present in WW reducing the pressure over water requirements,allowing the reclaim of the treated water. Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) and, in particular, photo-catalysis using titanium dioxide (TiO2) have shown a great potential for chemicals removal as well as forpathogens reduction in water. Moreover, the use of solar Compound Parabolic Collectors (CPC) reactorshas been also shown to be very effective for water treatment purpose by solar photocatalysis. Neverthe-less, the effects of some key parameters in photocatalytic disinfection have not been already investigatedat pilot scale in solar reactors; like dissolved oxygen concentration, water temperature, water matrixcomposition and the type of microorganism. The roles of these parameters in photocatalytic processesare individually known for chemicals degradation, but their relative significance in water photocatalyticdisinfection has been never studied at pilot scale. The aim of this work was to investigate the influ-ence of these parameters on the disinfection efficiency using a solar 60 L-CPC reactor with suspendedTiO2(100 mg/L). The following variables were experimentally evaluated: injection of air in the reactor(160 L/h); different controlled temperatures (15, 25, 35 and 45◦C); two very different models of waterpathogen, Escherichia coli (model of fecal water contamination) and Fusarium solani spores (a highlyphytopathogenic fungus); and the chemical composition of the water comparing urban WW effluents(UWWE) and simulated urban WW effluent (SUWWE). The increase of water temperature (from 15to 45◦C) had a benefit on the disinfection rate for both pathogens in all the experimental conditionsevaluated. The air injection led to an important enhancement on the inactivation efficiency, which wasstronger for F. solani spores, the most resistant microorganisms to TiO2photocatalysis. The compositionof the water matrix significantly affected the efficiency of the photocatalytic treatment, showing a betterinactivation rate in SUWWE than for UWWE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-38
JournalCatalysis Today
Early online date13 Apr 2014
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Apr 2014


  • Fusarium solani
  • Escherichia coli
  • TiO2 photocatalysis
  • WW treatment
  • Temperature
  • Dissolved oxygen


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