Biochar Nanoparticles over TiO2 Nanotube Arrays: A Green Co-Catalyst to Boost the Photocatalytic Degradation of Organic Pollutants

Marco Pinna*, Gilberto Binda, Marco Altomare, Marcello Marelli, DOSSI CARLO, MONTICELLI DAMIANO, Davide Spanu, Sandro Recchia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
73 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Biochar nanoparticles (BC NPs), produced by low temperature pyrolysis (350 °C) of microalgae (Nannochloropsis sp.) and nutshells, are proposed as low-cost and sustainable co-catalysts to promote the photocatalytic activity of TiO2 nanotube (NT) arrays towards the degradation of methylene blue (MB) used as an organic pollutant model molecule. BC NPs (size < 25 nm) were obtained by treating bulk BC (i.e., biomass after pyrolysis) by sonication–centrifugation cycles in a water solution. The filtered BC NPs dispersion was deposited by simple drop-casting on the TiO2 NT support. The BC loading was varied by performing multiple depositions. Photocatalytic experiments under UV light (365 nm) revealed that the decoration with BC NPs significantly improves the TiO2 photoactivity. Such enhancement is mainly influenced by the amount of BC deposited; upon optimizing the BC deposition conditions, the rate of photocatalytic degradation of MB increases approximately three times with respect to bare TiO2, almost irrespective of the nature of the raw material. The greater photocatalytic activity of BC-TiO2 can be attributed to the synergistic combination of reactant/product adsorption and catalytic degradation of the adsorbed organic pollutant, as well as an improved charge carrier separation and electron transfer.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1048
JournalCatalysts
Volume11
Issue number9
Early online date29 Aug 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

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