Removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from waste air stream using ozone assisted zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles coated on zeolite


The release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from stationary and mobile sources increases the concentration of these pollutants in the environment. These compounds have the potential to cause adverse effects on human health and the environment. The adoption of management and engineering procedures to control the emission of these pollutants to the air has become essential. The aim of this study was to use an advanced oxidation process namely the catalytic ozonation to reduce the concentration of these pollutants in industrial output. In this experimental study, the catalytic ozonation process in the presence of ZnO nanoparticles coated on zeolite media was used in a laboratory scale to treat the air contaminated with BTEX compounds as indicators of VOCs. For this purpose, First the nanocomposites were synthesized based on chemical co-precipitation method. SEM, XRD, BET and FT-IR analyses were performed to investigate the characteristics of nanocomposites. The variables including initial concentrations of BTEX (50–200 ppm), polluted air flow rate (5–20 l/h), humidity (0–75%) and ozone dose (0.25–1 g/h) were investigated. The concentration of BTEX compounds was measured by the Gas Chromatography (GC) technique according to the NIOSH 1501 manual. The results of SEM, XRD, BET and FT-IR analyses showed the proper synthesis of nanocomposites. According to the laboratory results, the optimal conditions of the process were found to be as follows: the initial concentration of pollutants equal to 50 ppm, inlet air flow rate of 5 l/h, relative air humidity of 25–35%, and inlet ozone concentration equal to 1 g/h. Under these conditions, the removal efficiency of the compounds: benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene were obtained 98, 96, 92 and 91%, respectively. Simple ozonation and adsorption processes were less efficient than catalytic ozonation. This process had the ability to reduce the concentration of BTEX compounds to standard level.

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This work was supported by the Islamic Azad University, North Tehran Branch, Faculty of Marine Science and Technology.

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Correspondence to Hossein Ghafourian.

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Shojaei, A., Ghafourian, H., Yadegarian, L. et al. Removal of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from waste air stream using ozone assisted zinc oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles coated on zeolite. J Environ Health Sci Engineer (2021).

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  • Air pollution control
  • BTEX
  • Ozonation
  • Zinc oxide nanoparticle