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Solar Detoxification Technology to the Treatment of Industrial non Biodegradable Persistent Chlorinated Water Contaminants

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Innovative solar technology to treat hazardous water contaminants

An innovative solar technology has enabled the treatment of non-biodegradable and hazardous organic water contaminants, through an environmentally friendly and cost effective detoxification process.

Climate Change and Environment

Hazardous organic water contaminants are commonly found in effluents from industrial activities, such as pharmaceutical manufacturing, printing, car coating, textile and paper industries, etc. Several compounds, including non-biodegradable chlorinated hydrocarbon solvents (NBCS), cannot be removed with traditional wastewater treatment methods. A state-of-the–art technology that can be used to break these contaminants into mineral compounds using solar light, was developed and successfully tested by a consortium including a wide range of European companies, during a three-year project. The reaction takes place when ultraviolet (UV) light excites a semiconductor catalyst (TiO2) in the presence of oxygen; the hydroxyl radicals (OH) that are generated attack contaminants producing a progressive breaking up of molecules into carbon dioxide, water and diluted mineral acids. This solar photo-catalyzed detoxification process was validated through the construction of a demonstration plant. The plant proved to work efficiently even in non-sunny conditions due to the use of static solar collectors that can capture the diffuse UV sunlight as well as the direct beam. Apart from its simplicity, this innovative technology is also cost effective, easy to use, and requires minimal capital investment.

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