Efficient degradation of tetracycline by RGO@black titanium dioxide nanofluid via enhanced catalysis and photothermal conversion

The applications of photocatalytic pollutant degradation have remained limited due to the low efficiency of solar energy utilization. In this study, a photothermal catalyst consisting of reduced graphene oxide @ black TiO2 (RGO@BT) nanofluid with effective full-spectrum (from ultraviolet to infrared light) absorption was synthesized by a typical two-step method of high-temperature calcination and hydrothermal method. Moreover, the photothermal catalytic performance of the RGO@BT nanofluid on tetracycline was verified. Compared with individual processes (i.e, photocatalysis and thermocatalysis), the photothermal catalytic process significantly enhanced tetracycline degradation under simulated global standard spectrum sunlight (AM 1.5G, 1000 W m−2). The maximum photothermal conversion efficiency reached 91.8%, which resulted in 94.7% tetracycline degradation (40mg L−1) after 120 min of treatment with 200mgL−1 RGO@BT nanofluid. Holes, •OH, and •O2 − were found to be the main active species during the photothermal catalytic process. Moreover, heat was spontaneously converted from light energy without the use of any external energy source. The elevated system temperature facilitated the tetracycline degradation based on the Arrhenius behavior. These findings provide insights into the improvement of photocatalytic efficiency in organic contaminant degradation via solar energy-efficient photothermal conversion materials.

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