Three kinds of titania/silica pellets were prepared using the sol-gel method with surface areas of 50.4m2 g-1, 421.1m2.g-1 and 89.1m2.g-1. An annular reactor was designed and built to determine the degradation efficiency of toluene and to investigate the relationship between the adsorption and desorption-photocatalytic processes. Surface area is an important factor influencing the adsorption-photocatalytic efficiency. Higher surface areas of pellets contribute to high rates of conversion of toluene. Un-reacted toluene and reaction intermediates accumulating on their surface deactivated the titania/silica catalyst. To overcome this problem, the adsorption and regeneration process were alternated in a dual reactor system. Connecting or disconnecting the toluene feed gas enabled one reactor to adsorb toluene, while the second reactor was regenerated by photocatalysis. Using UV irradiation and titania/silica pellets with high BET surface area (421.1 m2.g-1), the alternating adsorption/regeneration processes kept the degradation efficiency of toluene at 90% after 8 hours operation. By improving the adsorption-photocatalysis efficiency, and minimising the generation and accumulation of intermediate on the surface of pellets, the method extended catalyst life and maintained a high degradation efficiency of toluene.
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