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Nano-Photocatalytic Material for Water and Wastewater Treatment

Technology Overview

Industrial processes across the globe result in the production of water soluble organic solvents that need to be removed prior to discharging the used water. While many processes and materials including catalysts are used to remove these pollutants, they are not always efficient and cost-effective in nature.  To overcome this challenge, the technology owners have developed an environmentally-benign and recoverable nano-photocatalytic system that acts by mineralizing the pollutants in waste water before it is discharged into the environment. The photocatalyst is activated upon exposure to natural visible light and is regenerated by using diluted peroxide.

The technology owner is seeking industrial collaborators or potential licensing of the technology.

Technology Features & Specifications

The catalyst is developed by growing photocatalytic metal compounds (such as iron oxide nanoparticles) in situ within aluminosilicate mineral materials, such as clays or zeolites. The iron cations are first introduced into the aluminosilicate mineral material via ion-exchange, to replace the native ions that are present in the interlayer regions or in the pores of the aluminosilicate. The pre-active metal is activated upon application of heat over a period of time to a photocatalytic metal compound.  While the heat and time requirements vary based on alkaline or neutral conditions used, the process has an optimal production yield of more than 95% irrespective of the conditions.

The developed catalyst can be considered advantageous when compared to commercially available technologies. Some of the key points are highlighted below:

  • The catalyst production involves the use of raw materials that are available abundantly and cost-effective in nature, thereby potentially minimizing the final cost of the product;
  • The manufacturing and usage of the catalytic system is simple and easy to deploy.
  • The photocatalyst is fully recyclable in nature.
  • The developed catalyst can be considered robust and durable and has the ability to destroy the targeted pollutants instead of just adsorbing them. 

Potential Applications

The developed catalyst can find extensive applications in water and wastewater treatment. The catalyst can be used in various industries including chemicals, textiles, and pharmaceuticals to remove organic pollutants from water and wastewater prior it being released. Apart from these industries, it can also be potentially used for water remediation activities, both for industries or environmental (water bodies etc.). The cost-effective nature of the catalyst makes it attractive for use globally, especially in emerging economies and developing countries. 

Market Trends and Opportunities

With water pollution mitigation and remediation gaining focus, the developed catalyst has the potential to be used across the globe.  Industrial growth and strict legislative measures from various governments have intensified the demand for effective, durable technologies for water and waste water treatment.  The global water and wastewater treatment chemicals market alone was around 22.87 $billion in the year 2016 and is forecasted to be around 32.55 $billion in the year 2021 with a growth rate of around 7.4 %. The growth is expected to be mainly driven by the increasing need for industrial and municipal water treatment solutions. Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness the strongest growth in the water and wastewater treatment chemicals market followed by Europe and North America.

As the industry is characterized by many players with varied technology and product offerings, cost-effectiveness, durability and efficiency become key for wide scale adoption; the developed photocatalyst has the ability to meet all these requirements, which makes it viable commercially.

Commercial adoption and testing of the catalyst can be explored as the research team is open for technology licensing, collaborations for product development, and testing and commercial agreements with technical assistance from stakeholders across industries. 

Customer Benefits

The developed photocatalyst

  • is effective against a wide range of pollutants including phenols, aromatic amines, dyestuffs and pharmaceuticals.
  • facilitates rapid destruction of pollutants without any adverse effects to the environment.
  • is completely recoverable from purified water after use, thereby not causing any adverse effects and not requiring expensive disposal methods.
  • destroys the pollutants to ensure completely purified water, unlike commercially available technologies /materials such as activated carbon/ charcoal that usually adsorbs the pollutants
  • is cost-effective as it utilizes abundantly available raw materials, simple activation processes and is fully recycled and reused.    

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