Graduate Research School Available Projects Sustainable water treatment with light

Sustainable water treatment with light

Title of Project

Sustainable water treatment with light

Name of Advisor/s

A/Prof Michael Oelgemoeller


College of Science & Engineering

Summary of Project

The presence of pharmaceuticals in the aquatic environment and their possible effects on living organisms is emerging as a global environmental concern. These persistent organic chemicals are only partially eliminated during conventional wastewater treatment and have been detected in the effluent of wastewater treatment plants. Novel, cost-efficient and climate-smart water treatment technologies are thus urgently needed. Target pharmaceutical analytes are selected based on prescription data and incorporate different pharmaceutical classes. The pharmaceuticals are then degraded by treatment with semiconductor particles and both UV-light and sunlight. Degradations are monitored by a suite of analytical tools, especially HPLC and LC-MS. An additional approach deals with the development of novel Integrated Photocatalytic Adsorbents (IPCAs), i.e. hybrid materials of conventional adsorbents and titanium dioxide. IPCAs combine the advantageous properties of both substances and merge them into novel "capture & destroy" materials. Likewise, we have developed porphyrin-TiO2 hybrid materials that overcome the poor absorption characteristics of the semiconductor within the solar spectrum.

Key Words

water treatment, photocatalysis, photolysis, analytical chemistry

Would suit an applicant who

Interest in analytical, environmental and pharmaceutical chemistry.