Water, Vol. 10, Pages 202: Floating Photocatalysts for Passive Solar Degradation of Naphthenic Acids in Oil Sands Process-Affected Water Water doi: 10.3390/w10020202 Authors: Tim Leshuk Harish Krishnakumar Diogo de Oliveira Livera Frank Gu Oil sands process-affected water (OSPW), generated from bitumen extraction in the Canadian oil sands, may require treatment to enable safe discharge to receiving watersheds, as dissolved naphthenic acids (NAs) and other acid extractable organics (AEO), identified as the primary toxic components of OSPW, are environmentally persistent and poorly biodegradable. However, conventional advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) are impractically expensive to treat the volumes of OSPW stockpiled in the Athabasca region. Here we prepared floating photocatalysts (FPCs) by immobilizing TiO2 on glass microbubbles, such that the composite particles float at the air-water interface for passive solar photocatalysis. The FPCs were demonstrated to outperform P25 TiO2 nanoparticles in degrading AEO in raw OSPW under natural sunlight and gentle mixing conditions. The FPCs were also found to be recyclable for multiple uses through simple flotation and skimming. This paper thus demonstrates the concept of a fully passive AOP that may be scalable to oil sands water treatment challenges, achieving efficient NA reduction solely through the energy provided by sunlight and natural mixing processes (wind and waves).
Energy, Environment Protection, Nuclear Power Engineering