Integrated photocatalytic oxidation and adsorption approach for the robust treatment of refinery wastewater using hybrid TiO2/AC

Ihtisham Ul Haq, Waqas Ahmad*, Imtiaz Ahmad, Amjad Shah, Muhammad Yaseen, Taj Muhammad

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study reports the removal of hydrocarbon (HC) pollutants from petroleum refinery wastewater by integrated photocatalytic oxidation and adsorption using a TiO2/AC hybrid material. The hybrid adsorbent/catalyst was prepared by the impregnation of TiO2 over AC and characterized by FTIR, SEM, EDX, and XRD analyses. Under the optimized reaction conditions of pH 3, 30 °C, and 1000 mg TiO2/AC per 500 mL of sample in 50 min, the integrated photocatalytic oxidation-adsorption achieved a net percentage removal of benzene, toluene, aniline, and naphthalene of 91% from model HC solutions. Under these conditions, for the treatment of real refinery wastewater, TiO2/AC caused a 95% decrease in chemical oxygen demand (COD). The integrated photocatalytic oxidation and adsorption using TiO2/AC showed a clear advantage over the individual adsorption and photocatalytic oxidation using AC and TiO2, whereby about the same level of removal of model HCs and a decrease in the COD of refinery wastewater was attained in 105 min and 90 min, respectively, utilizing larger adsorbent/catalyst dosages. GC-MS analysis revealed that during the integrated process of adsorption-photocatalytic oxidation, all the parent HCs and oxidation byproducts were completely removed from the refinery wastewater. Based on the outstanding performance, cost-effectiveness, and environmental greenness, the newly designed TiO2/AC via the integrated adsorption-photocatalytic oxidation can be counted as an effective alternative route for the large-scale processing of refinery wastewater.

Original languageEnglish
Article number193
Number of pages19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023


  • activated carbon
  • adsorption
  • chemical oxygen demand
  • hydrocarbon pollutants
  • photocatalytic oxidation
  • refinery wastewater

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