The aim of FOTOAir Unit is the development of knowledge, processes and technologies capable of eliminate air pollutants in a environmentally friendly and efficient way. Solar and artificial low cost light are used as irradiation sources:
- Synthesis of novel photocatalysts.
- Design of new photoreactors based on UV-A lamps for indoor air decontamination.
- Characterization and photocatalytic treatment of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Inorganic (H2S, NOx) in outdoor air.
- Characterization and photocatalytic treatment of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), bacteria and fungi in indoor air.
Development of novel photocatalysts
Optimization and development of novel photocatalysts, are one of the most relevant scientific areas of the Unit. In accordance with this approach, it has been tested different types of shapes, supports and morphologies. Furthermore, it has been prepared immobilized bi-functional photocatalyst based on an adsorbent and a semiconductor. For this aim, have been selected numerous adsorbent materials as: magnesium silicates, zeolites, clays and carbonaceous materials.
Design of photoreactors
The requirement for the evaluation of different materials with diverse composition, configuration and shapes has led to the design, construction and test of a large number of reactors as: tubular, flat or cylindrical with or without concentration. These designs have to work with real solar radiation or using different wavelength lamps, trying always to simulate outdoor and indoor environmental conditions. The results of this work have led to the Unit original designs and some of them have been patented: "Annular Hybrid photoreactor for supported photocatalyst" (ES2371621B1) and others have resulted in utilities models: "Efficiency photocatalytic test system" (ES1087480U).
Outdoor air applications
FOTOAir Unit activities are focus on the photocatalytic treatment of gaseous pollutants. In this field, the Unit works with different real emissions. These emissions include Volatile Organic Compounds (HCHO, C2HCl3) and Inorganic Compounds (NOx, H2S).
Currently the Life-MINOX-Street project is one of the most important projects inside this research line. The TiO2 is being incorporated in building materials in order to reduce NOx pollution in an urban environment.
Indoor air applications
Humans spend 90% of our time at indoor environment like houses, offices and industries. For that reason it is necessary the knowledge about pollutants (chemical and biological) concentration present inside those places.
The Unit is able to take samples and using ATD-GC-MS to carry out the identification and quantification of 50 VOCs. The number of CFU for bacteria and fungi is also determinate and identification by genomic techniques on collaboration with others institutions.
On the last years, the Unit is studying the influence of environmental pollutants on cultural heritage, participating in projects with different museums. The main objective of these projects is to avoid or mitigate pollution for the conservation of cultural property.
In all cases, the photocatalysis treatment is applied for the removal of these contaminants.