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Improvement of water resistance by Fe2O3/TiO2 photoelectrocatalysts for formaldehyde removal: experimental and theoretical investigation

Abstract

TiO2-based photocatalysts are a potential technology for removing indoor formaldehyde (CHOH) owing to their strong photooxidation ability. However, their photooxidation performance is generally weakened when suffering from the competitive adsorption of H2O. In a method inspired by the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) to generate intermediates with hydroxyl radicals on the anode electrode catalysts, an electric field was employed in this research and applied to the photooxidation of CHOH to prevent the competitive adsorption of H2O. Additionally, 0.5–5% Fe2O3 decorated TiO2 was employed to improve the photoelectrocatalytic activity. The influence of an electric field on hydroxyl-radical production was investigated by both density functional theory (DFT) with direct-imposed dipole momentum and photoelectrocatalytic experimental tests. The surface characterization of the photocatalysts, including transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), was conducted. DFT results show that a positive electric field with a strength of 0.05 Å/V was more favorable to produce hydroxyl on Fe2O3/TiO2(010) than was a negative electric field. Fe2O3 decoration can significantly boost hydroxyl formation, resulting from a decrease in the binding energy between the Fe of Fe2O3 and the oxygen and hydrogen atoms of H2O. The dissociated hydrogen atom of the H2O preferentially remained on the catalysts’ surface rather than being released into the gas flow. The experimental results demonstrated that applying 150 V could not directly enhance the photooxidation of CHOH by either TiO2 or Fe2O3/TiO2 but that it could relieve the H2O inhibitory effect by more than 10% on the Fe2O3/TiO2.

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Acknowledgements

This study was performed under the auspices of the Xiamen Science and Technology Plan, under the contract number of 3502Z20183026, the National Key Research and Development Program (2019YFC0214305), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, China, (Grant No. 51908230). The authors are grateful to their financial supports in order to accomplish this study. The supplemented materials have other 1 table and 2 figures.

Funding

This study was performed under the auspices of the Xiamen Science and Technology Plan, under the contract number of 3502Z20183026, the National Key Research and Development Program (2019YFC0214305), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China, China, (Grant No. 51908230). W. Xia gratefully acknowledge the support from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at North Dakota State University.

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Contributions

Dong Jing: Writing-original draft preparation; Data curation; Methodology.

Li Qing: Data curation; Methodology.

Xia Wenjie: Writing-reviewing and editing; Software; Validation.

Lv Bihong: Writing-reviewing and editing.

Jing Guohua: Writing-reviewing and editing.

Shen Huazhen: Conceptualization; Writing-reviewing and editing.

Yuan Chung-shin: Conceptualization; Writing-reviewing and editing.

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Correspondence to Huazhen Shen.

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Dong, J., Li, Q., Xia, W. et al. Improvement of water resistance by Fe2O3/TiO2 photoelectrocatalysts for formaldehyde removal: experimental and theoretical investigation. Environ Sci Pollut Res 29, 13805–13821 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-16459-w

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-021-16459-w

Keywords

  • Photoelectrocatalytic
  • Formaldehyde
  • TiO2
  • Fe2O3
  • DFT