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Photocatalytic ceramic foams for the removal of micropollutants

Degradation of pollutantsInorganic ChemistryTrattamento acqueWater treatmentX-Ray Diffraction.


The technology involves the design and construction of a prototype reactor which, thanks to the properties of an iron oxide and lanthanum photocatalyst, allows the degradation of micro-pollutants in aqueous effluents using light in the visible or sunlight range, possibly in synergy with other advanced oxidation techniques.

Technical features

The present invention has as its object a process for the degradation of organic compounds including the use of a catalyst supported on a support represented by a ceramic foam of synthetic mullite, in the presence of an oxidizing agent in the presence of ultraviolet or visible irradiation. The process does not require the use of lamps emitting ultraviolet radiation, making the costs more sustainable. The technology in question effectively responds to an increasingly topical issue. New emerging contaminants (human or veterinary drugs, endocrine disruptors, biocides, plant protection chemicals, etc.) are gradually being detected in natural/potable waters. This invention acknowledges that aforementioned compounds are widely present in wastewater and outlines a method (currently protected patent) for the degradation of chemical compounds in wastewater, urban, from industrial or zootechnical activities. This method is suitable for wastewater with a turbidity lower than 200 NTU (nephelometric units of turbidity), as at those concentrations the penetration of light radiation is reduced. 

Possible Applications

  • Drinking water purification plants;
  • Waste water treatment plants.


  • Efficient and low cost process for the removal of micro-pollutants in water;
  • Modular technology adaptable to existing treatment systems.