Since graphene was isolated from graphite, different researches have been developed around it. The versatility of graphene properties and their derivates, such as graphene oxide or doped and functionalized graphene materials have expanded the possible applications of these nanostructures. The areas studied of graphene include the following: nanocomposites, drug delivery, transistors, quantum dots, optoelectronic, storage energy, sensors, catalyst support, supercapacitors, among others. However, other important field of these materials is their applications in environment, mainly in the removal of pollutants in water. In this context, there are two possible alternatives to use graphene materials in water purification: photocatalysis and adsorption. In the first case, the key is related to the bandgap and semiconductors properties of these materials, also the versatility of different graphene structures after the oxidation or functionalization, play an important role to get different arrangements useful in photocatalysis and avoid recombination, one of the problems of typical semiconductors photocatalysts. In the second case, surface area and useful chemical groups in carbon material give different options to produce efficient adsorbents depending on different synthesis conditions. Thus, this book chapter covers a review of the photocatalytic activity of graphene materials with emphasis in the removal of organic pollutants and heavy metals from water, in the next topics: graphene-based semiconductor photocatalyst and graphene oxide as photocatalyst. On the other hand, the chapter also discusses the research related to the removal of organic compounds and heavy metals using graphene materials as adsorbents, the topics in this second part are as follows: graphene and graphene oxide as adsorbent of heavy metals from water, graphene, and graphene oxide as adsorbent of organic pollutants from water, functionalized graphene materials as adsorbent of water pollutants, carbon nanomaterials vs. graphene as adsorbents. Therefore, the book chapter presents a review and the discussion of the keys that play an important role in the advances in the research of graphene materials as photocatalysts. In addition, the isotherms and kinetic that produce these materials as adsorbents are also reviewed and discussed, because adsorption process in these materials is important to remove pollutants from water, but also for adsorption is a first step to achieve photocatalyst. The future of this topic in graphene materials is also analyzed.
Part of the book: Semiconductor Photocatalysis