Influence of the sol-gel preparation method on the photocatalytic NO oxidation performance of TiO2/Al2O3 binary oxides

Polat, Meryem
Soylu, Asli M.
Altunöz Erdoğan, Deniz
Erguven, Huseyin
Vovk, Evgeny I.
Ozensoy, Emrah
In the current work, TiO2/Al2O3 binary oxide photocatalysts were synthesized via two different sol-gel protocols (P1 and P2), where various TiO2 to Al2O3 mole ratios (0.5 and 1.0) and calcination temperatures (150-1000 degrees C) were utilized in the synthesis. Structural characterization of the synthesized binary oxide photocatalysts was also performed via BET surface area analysis, X-ray diffraction (XRD) and Raman spectroscopy. The photocatalytic NO(g) oxidation performances of these binary oxides were measured under UVA irradiation in a comparative fashion to that of a Degussa P25 industrial benchmark. TiO2/Al2O3 binary oxide photocatalysts demonstrate a novel approach which is essentially a fusion of NSR (NOx storage reduction) and PCO (photocatalytic oxidation) technologies. In this approach, rather than attempting to perform complete NOx reduction, NO(g) is oxidized on a photocatalyst surface and stored in the solidstate. Current results suggest that alumina domains can be utilized as active NOx capturing sites that can significantly eliminate the release of toxic NO2(g) into the atmosphere. Using either (P1) or (P2) protocols, structurally different binary oxide systems can be synthesized enabling much superior photocatalytic total NOx removal (i.e. up to 176% higher) than Degussa P25. Furthermore, such binary oxides can also simultaneously decrease the toxic NO2(g) emission to the atmosphere by 75% with respect to that of Degussa P25. There is a complex interplay between calcination temperature, crystal structure, composition and specific surface area, which dictate the ultimate photocatalytic activity in a coordinative manner. Two structurally different photocatalysts prepared via different preparation protocols reveal comparably high photocatalytic activities implying that the active sites responsible for the photocatalytic NO(g) oxidation and storage have a non-trivial nature.