Scientists at SFedU have discovered how the sun can purify water from dyes.

Scientists from the Academy of Biology and Biotechnology. DI Ivanovsky SFU, together with colleagues from Iran, has developed a method to clean wastewater from dyes using sunlight and graphene. The new technique is inexpensive and requires no special equipment.

One of the major pests contaminating water bodies is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). These are persistent organic pollutants with pronounced carcinogenic properties, which are often used as industrial dyes. The scale of world production of such dyes reaches 450 thousand tons per year. This worries experts, as these types of substances are often toxic and can cause cancer and mutations.

According to AB&B SFedU scientists, in recent years many specialists have resorted to using solar energy to treat wastewater on an industrial scale. The advantages of this approach are low costs and easy availability.

The scientific team of the Southern Federal University (SFU), together with colleagues from the Institute of Science and Technology of Color and the University of Tehran (Iran), has developed a new method of water purification from dyes, which is distinguished by its high efficiency and economy. . It is based on graphene nanocatalysts that are activated by sunlight.

“Our cleaning method is just as effective at breaking down stubborn contaminants as today’s titanium dioxide and is able to neutralize more than 90% by volume of some textile dyes. At the same time, the technology we have developed for the production of graphene nanosheets is simple, inexpensive and completely environmentally friendly.”, – said the lead researcher of the Academy of Biology and Biotechnology. DI Ivanovsky SFU Mahmoud Mazardzhi.

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Leading Research Fellow of the Academy of Biology and Biotechnology. DI Ivanovsky SFU Mahmoud Mazardzhi. Photo: SFU.

The specialist explained that under the influence of sunlight, graphene nanoparticles form oxidative radicals that bind molecules of harmful chemicals. This reaction converts concentrated contaminants into relatively harmless carbon dioxide and water.

The new cleaning method is designed to be implemented in an existing infrastructure. The technology for making nanocatalysts involves graphite oxidation followed by hydrothermal reduction and calcination in a nitrogen atmosphere. The nanocatalyst can be reused and sent for recycling, so that it can be used, for example, during the tertiary treatment of municipal wastewater treatment plants.

“Today, there are already production facilities that focus on making graphene materials in huge volumes. Therefore, we hope that our development will be put into practice in the near future.”said Mazardzhi.

Study, published In the magazine Nanomaterials, was carried out under the Grant of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation No. 075-15-2021-1363. Scientists plan to develop a similar technique for cleaning PAH-contaminated soils in the future.

Source: SFU.

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