Research Group in Advanced Oxidation Processes (AdOx), Chemical Systems Engineering Center, Department of Chemical Engineering, University of São Paulo, Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, tr. 3, São Paulo, SP, 380, Brazil. [Email]
Heterogeneous photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is a widely studied alternative for the elimination of volatile organic compounds (VOC) in air. In this context, research on novel photoreactor arrangements to enhance PCO rates is desired. Annular fluidized bed photoreactors (AFBPR) have yielded prominent results when compared to conventional thin film reactors. However, very few works aimed at optimizing AFBPR operation. In this study, TiO2 photocalytic agglomerates were synthesized and segregated in specific size distributions to behave as Geldart groups A, B, C, and D fluidization. The TiO2 agglomerates were characterized by XRD, FTIR spectra, and N2 adsorption. Photocatalyst performances were compared in a 10-mm gapped AFBPR for degrading the model pollutant methyl-ethyl-ketone (MEK), using a 254-nm radiation source. Geldart group C showed to be inadequate for AFBPR operation due to the short operation range between fluidization and elutriation. In all the cases, photocatalytic reaction rates were superior to sole UV photolysis. Group A and group B demonstrated the highest reaction rates. Considerations based on mass transfer suggested that the reasons were enhanced UV distribution within the bed at lower flow rates and superior catalyst surface area at higher flow rates. Results also revealed that groups A, B, and D perform equally per catalyst area within an AFBPR if the fluidization numbers (FN) are high enough.