The effect of water presence on the photocatalytic oxidation of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and m-xylene in the gas-phase

Christos A. Korologos, Constantine J. Philippopoulos, Stavros G. Poulopoulos

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37 Citations (Scopus)


In the present work, the gas-solid heterogeneous photocatalytic oxidation of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and m-xylene (BTEX) over UV-irradiated titanium dioxide was studied in an annular reactor operated in the CSTR (continuous stirred-tank reactor) mode. GC-FID and GC-MS were used for analysing reactor inlet and outlet streams. Initial BTEX concentrations were in the low parts per million (ppmv) range, whereas the water concentration was in the range of 0-35,230 ppmv and the residence time varied from 50 to 210 s. The effect of water addition on the photocatalytic process showed strong dependence on the type of the BTEX and the water vapour concentration. The increase in residence time resulted in a considerable increase in the conversion achieved for all compounds and experimental conditions. There was a clear interaction between residence time and water presence regarding the effect on conversions achieved. It was established that conversions over 95% could be achieved by adjusting appropriately the experimental conditions and especially the water concentration in the reactor. In all cases, no by-products were detected above the detection limit and carbon dioxide was the only compound detected. Finally, various Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetic models have been tested in the analysis of the experimental data obtained. The kinetic data obtained confirmed that water had an active participation in the photocatalytic reactions of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and m-xylene since the model involving reaction of BTEX and water adsorbed on different active sites yielded the most successful fitting to the experimental results for the first three compounds, whereas the kinetic model based on the assumption that reaction between VOC and water dissociatively adsorbed on the photocatalyst takes place was the most appropriate in the case of m-xylene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7089-7095
Number of pages7
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


  • BTEX
  • Langmuir-Hinshelwood kinetics
  • Titanium dioxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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