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PROJECT DESCRIPTION & GOALS

The main goal of the present proposal is the development of highly extended 3D carbonaceous@TiO2 heterojunctions with improved photocatalytic performance for environmentally friendly reactions. The development of high-surface area activated carbon/graphene (or graphene-derivatives) 3D networks as a platform to grow a thin TiO2 nanofilm will give rise to optimal photocatalysts based on the Z-scheme heterojunction model, taking advantage of the excellent photocatalytic performance of TiO2 and graphene, and the superior conversion of light in the confined nanospace of activated carbon materials.

The development of a controlled porous network and well-defined surface chemistry (including a welldispersed TiO2 nanofilm) will provide a bifunctional system able to adsorb and convert simultaneously or in pulsed-mode i) CO2 into value-added chemicals, and ii) water pollutants into harmless compounds. The consortium has already experience in the development of outstanding nanoporous networks with an exceptional adsorption performance for CO2 and VOCs (TRL-2), and the development of TiO2 photocatalysts for water cleaning (TRL-3).

Based on these premises, the main output of the project will be to integrate these components into a single device to get improved photocatalysts for environmentally critical reactions. The final prototype will be conformed in the form of monoliths using 3D printing technology and tested under laboratory relevant conditions (TRL-5). Compared to actual photo-devices, the development of an extended heterojunction will provide an enhanced splitting and charge separation of the photogenerated species, a slow recombination, and the possibility to modulate the light absorption features in the nanoporous cavities of the carbon material.

On the other hand, the careful design and development of high-surface area activated carbon materials to be used as a platform for these Z-heterojunctions will provide a multifunctional system able to achieve an extremely large adsorption/trapping capacity for the target molecules (preferentially in the inner microporous structure), while larger pores, modified with a TiO2 thin film, will act as nanoreactors to convert the adsorbed species into non-toxic or value-added products.

The development of this technology is crucial to mitigate CO2 emissions to the atmosphere though CO2 capture and conversion, and to remediate water pollution worldwide.

The project is expected to develop i) chemical synthesis methods of 3D carbonaceous@TiO2 heterojunctions, ii) to estimate the potential of these materials for application in photocatalysis, iii) the associated energy saving, iv) to train young researches, and v) to be a platform to exchange competence and knowledge between project partners.

PARTNERS


For this project, our partners are: Universitatea Transilvania din Brasov (Transilvania University, Brasov, Romania), UNIVERSIDAD DE ALICANTE (Spain) and UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DE SAO PAULO (“UNIFESP”) (Brazil)

ACTIVITIES IN 2020


(1.1) Characterizing carbonic, extended specific surface materials by the way of voltmetric methods (for unspecified materials - 1st step) and (1.2) spectrometric methods (for materials covered in TiO2)

(1.3) 3D Modeling of the prototypes used for catalytic reactors (3D Design, 3D Print), followed by (1.4) the putting together of the specifications for a photocatalysis reactor control installation and preparing an experimental model.

(1.5) Dissemination and participation to events (includes publishing articles, as well as making presentations)

RESULTS