20 Oct 2020
CLAIM research discovers a sustainable solution for up to 65% reduction of microplastic particle volume
A team of international scientists has collaborated in a CLAIM-supported research article on the topic of Visible Light Photocatalytic Degradation of Polypropylene Microplastics in a Continuous Water Flow System, which is available in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.
The publication looks into the omnipresent issue of water and ecosystem pollution from microplastics and the recent suggestion from the team of experts for a sustainable green photocatalytic solution. The novel strategy proposes the elimination of microplastics using glass fiber substrates to trap low-density microplastic particles.
The research shows that particles have been found in water bodies, sea, bottled water and the food chain, including bottled water and foodstuffs intended for human consumption. Therein, to the already existing technologies for managing plastic menace, the research team introduces two new and innovative treatments for fighting microplastics waste – biodegradation and photocatalysis. The first one can be achieved by microbes producing enzymes that break the macromolecules into smaller fragments, potentially leading to full mineralisation. The photocatalysis, on the other hand, is considered to be an environmentally friendly, low-cost process that has the ability of mineralising a wide variety of organic pollutants into H2O and CO2.
(a) Schematic diagram of the photocatalytic reactor showing the ZnO nanorod coated glass fiber inserts, (b) the polymer distribution shown inside the photocatalytic reactor (polymer particles were colored for imaging using glyceride, a pyrrolidone, a resin and a colorant to attach on polymer microparticles). (c) optical image of the photocatalytic module fabricated for this work. Water reservoir containing microplastics Pump Visible light (a) (b) (c) 24 cm 2 cm
The results from the research and testing show for a positive implementation of photocatalytic reactors for sustainable microplastics removal from water sources. Upon irradiation of polypropylene microplastics for two weeks under visible light reduced led to a reduction of the average particle volume by 65%. The successful outcomes of the experimental work prove the efficiency of the designed reactors and suggest their potential for use in a large-scale water and wastewater treatment.
To read the full article, click here.