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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 3 (2001), Issue 4, Pages 187-191

Photocatalytic degradation of aqueous organic solvents in the presence of hydroxyl radical scavengers

1Department of Chemistry, Biology and Chemical Engineering, Ryerson Polytechnic University, Ontario, Toronto M5B 2K3, Canada
2Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, N2L 3G1, Canada

Copyright © 2001 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tetrahydrofuran (THF) and 1,4-dioxane (DIOX) are two common solvents that are found in contaminated groundwater. Photocatalytic degradation of these two organic solvents in water was studied in the presence of carbonate and bicarbonate, which are hydroxyl radical scavengers. The reactions were performed in an annular slurry photoreactor. It was found that bicarbonate and carbonate ions acted as hydroxyl radical scavengers and slowed down the DIOX degradation rate but did not significantly affect the THF degradation rate. The slight enhancement in the THF degradation rate in the presence of sodium bicarbonate may be due to the increase in pH. In addition, it appears that bicarbonate and carbonate ions were reduced to other organic species during the photocatalytic reaction.