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An overview of photocatalytic degradation: photocatalysts, mechanisms, and development of photocatalytic membrane.


Photocatalysis is an ecofriendly technique that emerged as a promising alternative for the degradation of many organic pollutants. The weaknesses of the present photocatalytic system which limit their industrial applications include low-usage of visible light, fast charge recombination, and low migration ability of the photo-generated electrons and holes. Therefore, various elements such as noble metals and transition metals as well as non-metals and metalloids (i.e., graphene, carbon nanotube, and carbon quantum dots) are doped into the photocatalyst as co-catalysts to enhance the photodegradation performance. The incorporation of the co-catalyst which alters the photocatalytic mechanism was discussed in detail. The application of photocatalysts in treating persistent organic pollutants such as pesticide, pharmaceutical compounds, oil and grease and textile in real wastewater was also discussed. Besides, a few photocatalytic reactors in pilot scale had been designed for the effort of commercializing the system. In addition, hybrid photocatalytic system integrating with membrane filtration together with their membrane fabrication methods had also been reviewed. This review outlined various types of heterogeneous photocatalysts, mechanism, synthesis methods of biomass supported photocatalyst, photocatalytic degradation of organic substances in real wastewater, and photocatalytic reactor designs and their operating parameters as well as the latest development of photocatalyst incorporated membrane.