Synergistic Photocatalytic Decomposition of a Volatile Organic Compound Mixture: High Efficiency, Reaction Mechanism, and Long-Term Stability

  • Jieyuan Li
    Jieyuan Li
    Research Center for Environmental Science & Technology, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
    More by Jieyuan Li
  • Ruimin Chen
    Ruimin Chen
    Chongqing Key Laboratory of Catalysis and New Environmental Materials, College of Environment and Resources, Chongqing Technology and Business University, Chongqing 400067, China
    More by Ruimin Chen
  • Wen Cui
    Wen Cui
    Research Center for Environmental Science & Technology, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
    The Center of New Energy Materials and Technology, School of New Energy and Materials, Southwest Petroleum University, Chengdu 610500, China
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  • Xing’an Dong
    Xing’an Dong
    Research Center for Environmental Science & Technology, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
  • Hong Wang
    Hong Wang
    Research Center for Environmental Science & Technology, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
    More by Hong Wang
  • Ki-Hyun Kim
    Ki-Hyun Kim
    Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Hanyang University, 222 Wangsimni-Ro, Seoul 04763, Korea
    More by Ki-Hyun Kim
  • Yinghao Chu
    Yinghao Chu
    College of Architecture and Environment, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610065, China
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  • Jianping Sheng
    Jianping Sheng
    Research Center for Environmental Science & Technology, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
  • Yanjuan Sun
    Yanjuan Sun
    Research Center for Environmental Science & Technology, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
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  • , and 
  • Fan Dong*
    Fan Dong
    Research Center for Environmental Science & Technology, Institute of Fundamental and Frontier Sciences, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu 611731, China
    *Email: [email protected]
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Cite this: ACS Catal. 2020, 10, 13, 7230–7239
Publication Date (Web):June 9, 2020
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society
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Photocatalysis technology has been extensively applied for the treatment of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) commonly based on the performance evaluation against a single target component. However, in real situations, a multitude of VOCs are present simultaneously. Other than the studies with photocatalyst design, the mechanisms of mutual effects between different VOCs and the complex reactions at the pollutants/photocatalyst interface are highly delicate to seek for the optimal routes for their decomposition and mineralization. In this work, a comprehensive analysis was made for the destruction of the formaldehyde (CH2O) and toluene (C7H8) mixture. The synergistic efficiency in the decomposition of the CH2O/C7H8 mixture was first established relative to its individual component. The photocatalytic efficiency was maintained for 8 h on the SnO2 photocatalyst, and the durability of the proposed photocatalyst was stable enough even after 30 days of exposure to air. Direct evidence for the synergistic effect on the destruction of the CH2O/C7H8 mixture composition is hypothesized. Most likely, the addition of CH2O into C7H8 turns out to be the rate-determining step in the ring-opening process to promote the decomposition reaction rates for the mixture. It was revealed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and density functional theory calculations that the CH2O addition leads to the generation of o-tolualdehyde as key intermediates, which elevated the adsorption and activation of the aromatic ring. This work may offer better insights into the practicality of photocatalysis technology in decomposition of key gaseous pollutants by endowing the “conventional” SnO2 photocatalyst with novel applications.

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