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3rd Joint Call: FLOATCAT

The objective of this project is to develop a novel composite floating photocatalyst with synergic adsorption function applicable for solar photocatalytic detoxication of surface waters contaminated by non-polar organic pollutants. It is funded under the 3rd Call of Southeast Asia - Europe Joint Funding Scheme for Science and Innovation.
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The project contributes to research on novel low-cost approaches to environmental remediation that belongs among national priorities in all countries of the involved partners. The proposed technology will have a broader applicability for removal of non-polar, poorly water-soluble contaminants (pesticides, petroleum products etc.) that represent environmental burden and health risk of global scope. More specifically, the application of the floating photocatalysts for water decontamination in remote rural areas of Vietnam and elsewhere will in long-term lead to improvement of health standards of poor and underprivileged people based in areas affected by the overuse of herbicides and other toxic organic substances.

The Project

The main technological objective of FLOATCAT is to develop a new type of low-cost floating photocatalyst for solar-driven removal of non-polar, poorly water-soluble contaminants that represent environmental burden and health risk of global scope. This will be achieved by incorporation of a specific sorption function with high affinity to non-polar substances, which should fundamentally improve the existing floating photocatalyst via a synergic effect. Within the proposed project, the research and development work will culminate in laboratory pilot tests aimed at validating the technology for decontamination of water contaminated with non-polar test contaminants (e.g., herbicide diuron, insecticide DDT).  The newly developed technology will have a wider applicability for cleaning different types of surface water.

The Science

The main scientific objective of FLOATCAT is to obtain novel scientific insights into the advantages and possible operational bottlenecks of photocatalysis in complex composite architectures represented by floating photocatalysts with integrated sorption functionality. In addition, the photocatalysts will be modified with co-catalysts for oxygen reduction, which should lead to a significant enhancement of photocatalytic degradation rates since the oxygen reduction is often the rate-limiting step in environmental photocatalysis. Notably, some of the intermediates of photocatalytic degradation reactions can be highly toxic. Therefore, it is essential to investigate kinetics and mechanism of such oxidative degradation processes by means of analyzing chemical composition and toxicity of the reaction mixtures for variable extent of irradiation. Kinetic and mechanistic studies of relevant pollutants will therefore play an important role in the project.

The Team:

The FLOATCAT partners are:

Prof. Dr. Radim Beránek: Institute of Electrochemistry, Ulm University, Germany

Dr. Jaromír Jirkovský, J. Heyrovský Institute of Physical Chemistry, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic

Ing. Jan Šubrt CSc.: Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic

Dr. Hoang Hiep: Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Environment, Vietnam National University of Agriculture, Hanoi, Vietnam


Prof. Radim Beránek: radim.beranek@uni-ulm.de


featured image from R. Beránek