Research project funded by Mobilitas Pluss incoming postdoctoral grant (MOBJD1200).
Development of earth abundant nanocomposites for dye degradation and green electricity production in aqueous media
Principal Investigator: Dr. Sadaf Alibhai Jethva
The production of decarbonized electricity from non-renewable resources such as wastewaters appears to a suitable route to attain the principles of circular economy, by converting waste into a resource. Furthermore, other than clean energy transition, the EU Green Deal also identifies Nanotechnology as one of the Key Enabling Technologies for the Green Industry initiative. Resource efficient cleaner production routes are capital for tackling climate change. The project deals with environmental remediation and simultaneous production of energy through photocatalytic processes. Wastewaters containing Azo dyes are considered as a non-renewable resource. In particular, the project deals with the design and optimization of magnetically separable Fe2O3-Cu2O-CNT nanocomposites through cost-effective synthesis routes. Additionally, it ensures sustainability of the nanomaterial production route by the use of Earth abundant raw materials, such as Cu, C and Fe. In the first stage, photocatalytic dye degradation of these nanocomposites using visible/solar light will be studied. The redox mechanisms involved during the photocatalytic degradation processes will be evaluated electrochemically. These nanomaterials will then constitute a photoanode in a photofuel cell, in the second stage of the project. The photofuel cell will be tested under visible light irradiation and dye-contaminated aqueous electrolytes for the production of electricity. The project starts at TRL1 with the synthesis of nanomaterials and ends at TRL4 with the fabrication of a photofuel cell. In order to retain the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of the methods, non-noble metal electrodes, such as Al will serve as the cathode. Moreover, the efficiency, reusability, stability and recovery of the materials and processes will be addressed for artificially contaminated waters with Azo dyes.