Three alternative approaches for the development of heterogeneous photocatalysts are comparatively evaluated, namely (i) the use of molecular imprinting concept for the development of heterogeneous catalysts employing rhodamine B as template and sol–gel as synthesis route; (ii) the impregnation of TiCl4 on mixed nano- and micro-metric silicas, followed by calcination; (iii) the use of industrial and academic chemical residues as source of potential photocatalyst species impregnated on supports. All tests were carried on with rhodamine B as target molecule. For comparative reasons, photocatalytic tests were carried out with commercial titania (P25). The solids were characterized by nitrogen porosimetry, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), zeta potential (ZP), diffuse reflectance spectroscopy in the ultraviolet region (DRS-UV), diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transmission spectroscopy (DRIFTS), and Rutherford backscattering spectrometry (RBS). The supported catalysts resulting from silica nanoparticles and residue of the petrochemical industry achieved higher percentage of the dye degradation under ultraviolet (68.0 and 66.8%, respectively) radiation. The industrial waste reached the highest photocatalytic activity under visible (61%) radiation, while the commercial P25 achieved 82.0and 12.3% for ultraviolet and visible radiation, respectively. The textural and structural characteristics of the supported catalyst prepared with fumed silica and petrochemical waste (SiPe), namely the low-energy bandgap (1.8 eV), large surface area (280 m2 g−1), high pore volume (1.9 cm3 g−1), and high zeta potential value (−36.4 mV), may have been responsible for their high activity.
Part of the book: Semiconductor Photocatalysis