Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are air pollutants that come from burning fossil fuels and industrial emissions. They have potentially adverse health effects being carcinogenic and highly persistent in the environment. The use of photocatalytic oxidation to remove VOCs has the potential to be applied in indoor air quality improvement and industrial emission control. A fixed bed photocatalytic reactor was designed and built. UV black light lamps were installed in the reactor to provide a source of UV radiation. A non-film titania media as pellets were placed on the three fixed beds within the reactor. Toluene and acetone were used as indicators of VOCs during the experiment. With a flow rate of 12.75l/min, the oxidation efficiencies were obtained at four different concentrations of acetone laden gas streams ranging from 40ppm to 250ppm. It was found that the lower the acetone concentration of the untreated inlet gas, the higher the oxidation efficiency. The oxidation efficiency was in the range of 40–70% for various concentrations of untreated gases. Two concentrations of toluene laden gas stream were also tested using the same reactor. The oxidation efficiencies were found as 50% for 120ppm toluene gas and 45% for 300ppm toluene gas. It was found that the times required for toluene to reach oxidization equilibrium have been halved than for acetone gas stream. Other parameters such as flow rate and UV intensity were also altered to see their effects on the oxidation efficiency. A full spectrum scan was carried out using a Bio-rad Infrared spectrometer. It was found that the main components of the treated gas stream from the outlet of the reactor were CO2 and water along with small amount of untreated acetone. The suspected intermediates of aliphatic hydrocarbons and CO were found in very minimal amounts or undetectable. The research experiments supported that the TiO2 pellets can work effectively in a fixed bed photocatalytic reactor and achieve significant oxidation efficiencies for degradation of toluene and acetone as indicators of VOCs.
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