Recent developments in photocatalytic water treatment technology: a review

Meng Nan Chong, Bo Jin, Christopher W.K. Chow, Chris Saint

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

4382 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, semiconductor photocatalytic process has shown a great potential as a low-cost, environmental friendly and sustainable treatment technology to align with the " zero" waste scheme in the water/wastewater industry. The ability of this advanced oxidation technology has been widely demonstrated to remove persistent organic compounds and microorganisms in water. At present, the main technical barriers that impede its commercialisation remained on the post-recovery of the catalyst particles after water treatment.This paper reviews the recent R&D progresses of engineered-photocatalysts, photoreactor systems, and the process optimizations and modellings of the photooxidation processes for water treatment. A number of potential and commercial photocatalytic reactor configurations are discussed, in particular the photocatalytic membrane reactors. The effects of key photoreactor operation parameters and water quality on the photo-process performances in terms of the mineralization and disinfection are assessed. For the first time, we describe how to utilize a multi-variables optimization approach to determine the optimum operation parameters so as to enhance process performance and photooxidation efficiency. Both photomineralization and photo-disinfection kinetics and their modellings associated with the photocatalytic water treatment process are detailed. A brief discussion on the life cycle assessment for retrofitting the photocatalytic technology as an alternative waste treatment process is presented. This paper will deliver a scientific and technical overview and useful information to scientists and engineers who work in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2997-3027
Number of pages31
JournalWater Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Disinfection
  • Kinetic modelling
  • Life cycle analysis
  • Mineralization
  • Photocatalysis
  • Photocatalytic reactors
  • Water qualities
  • Water treatment

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