Mathematical Model for Photocatalytic Destruction of Organic Contaminants in Air
Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) was investigated in a bench-scale reactor for the abatement of two airborne organic contaminants: toluene and ethanol. A mathematical model that includes the impacts of light intensity, initial contaminant concentration, catalyst thickness, and relative humidity (RH) on the degradation of organic contaminants in a photocatalytic reactor was developed to describe this process. The commercially available catalyst Degussa-PtTiO2 was selected to compare with the MTU-PtTiO2-350 catalyst, which was synthesized by the sol-gel process, platinized, and calcined at 350 °C. For toluene removal using the MTU-PtTiO2-350 catalyst, the degradation rate increased with increases in light intensity from 0.2 to 2.2 mW/cm2 and in catalyst thickness from 0.00037 to 0.00361 cm. However, further increases in light intensity and catalyst thickness had only slight effect on the toluene degradation rate. Increasing the initial concentration from 6.29 to 127.9 μg/L and the RH from 10 to 85% resulted in decreases in the toluene degradation rate. For ethanol removal using the MTU-PtTiO2- 350 catalyst, the degradation rate increased more rapidly with an increase in RH from 17 to 56%; the RH had little effect on the ethanol degradation rate while it further increased from 56% to 82%. We discuss applicability of the model to estimate the influence of process variables and to evaluate photocatalyst performance.