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Semiconducting Nanomaterials for Effective Environmental Remediation and Organic Synthesis

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2023) | Viewed by 11930

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Engineering and Materials Science and Transportation, Higher Technical School of Engineering, University of Seville, 41092 Seville, Spain
Interests: development of solar active photocatalysts for environmental remediation and organic synthesis; semiconductor mediated synthesis of novel heterocyclic compounds for biological applications; investigation of organic photochemical reaction and mechanisms; catalysis-based synthesis
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Guest Editor
Environmental Science and Engineering Research Lab, Department of Civil Engineering, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan 38541, Republic of Korea
Interests: development of solar and visible active nanostructures for environmental remediation and H2 evolution; functionalization of metal oxides by layered structures and their multiple applications
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Catalysis Laboratory, Department of Applied Science and Technology, Anna University, Chennai 600025, India
Interests: heterogeneous catalysis; biofuels; visible-light-driven catalysts; photocatalytic membranes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Catalysis is one of the fundamental pillars of green chemistry. The design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances has led to the development of catalysts and catalytic systems to achieve the dual goals of environmental protection and economic benefit. The purpose of the issue is to find out more about the application of nanotechnology toward environmental remediation and organic synthesis, and the outcomes of this study are very essential to society. The nanomaterials rummage-sale in organic transformation/synthesis reactions are mainly used as solid acid catalysts by the replacement of liquid acids. Acids such as HF, H2SO4, HClO4 and H3PO4 have been widely used in organic transformations and in oil refining, petrochemical and chemical industries. Since 1940, the tendency has been to replace these liquid acids with other solid acids which have several advantages compared to liquid acids. Solid acid catalysts have the following advantages for their use in industry: i) easy handling, ii) catalyst regeneration iii) simplicity and versatility of process engineering, iv) decreased reactor and plant corrosion problem, v) environmentally safe disposal.

One of the most important factors for the evaluation of treatment efficiency is the ability to reduce concentrations of chemical substances in wastewater. Physical, chemical and biological methods are well known for the treatment of wastewater. The disadvantage of precipitation methods is the sludge formation. Chemical coagulation and flocculation use a large amount of chemicals and the generated sludge may contain hazardous materials. Advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) such as semiconductor photocatalysis, UV/H2O2, Fenton, photo-Fenton, ozonation and O3/H2O2 processes are used for the treatment of recalcitrant compounds in water and wastewater. These processes involve highly reactive intermediates particularly the hydroxyl radical (•OH). Hydroxyl radical is a powerful oxidizing agent with an oxidation potential of 2.8 eV.

Current research is mainly focused on the replacement of environmentally hazardous processes with energy-efficient routes to avoid the use and production of harmful products. Semiconductor oxides as catalysts offer an alternative green route for organic transformations. Nanosized semiconductor oxides attracted great attention mainly because of their wide applications in pollutant mineralization and organic synthesis. The catalytic efficiency of these semiconductor oxides can be enhanced by doping with metals/ non-metals/anions/metal halides.

The studies invited to this Special Issue should have a focus on the recent development of nanomaterials especially solar active photocatalysts for wastewater treatment, selective organic transformation and energy-related applications. Although there is a lot of academic knowledge and expertise in this area across a multitude of disciplines, many of the materials being inactive, expensive and lacking reusability. This issue will supplement the knowledge that relates to materials synthesis, characterization and their effective utilization related to the environment which is directly helpful to society.

The Special Issue is also helpful for interdisciplinary collaboration.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Modification of metal oxides /sulphides and their multiple applications such as water splitting, Pollutant degradation, H2 productions and CO2 reductions
  • Development of solar active photocatalysts for environmental remediation and organic synthesis
  • Semiconductor mediated synthesis of novel heterocyclic compounds for biological applications
  • Investigation of organic photochemical reaction and mechanisms
  • Catalysis based synthesis.
  • Materials science
  • Nanoscience and technologies

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Balu Krishnakumar
Dr. Mani Durai
Dr. Sakthivel Kumaravel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • TiO2
  • ZnO
  • metal sulfides
  • solar active catalyst
  • degradation, dye removal
  • water splitting
  • H2 production
  • solid acid catalyst
  • organic transformation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

14 pages, 4608 KiB  
Article
NbCl5 Functionalized Perlite: A Potent and Recyclable Catalyst for Synthesis of Pyrans
by Komalavalli Lakshminarayanan, Monisha Sivanandhan, Subramaniyan Ramasundaram, Tae Hwan Oh, Kinjal J. Shah, Kumaravel Saranraj, Amutha Parasuraman and Krishnakumar Balu
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 3678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15043678 - 16 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1149
Abstract
Niobium pentachloride functionalised perlite was prepared via a solid state dispersion technique, which was utilized as an efficient heterogeneous catalyst for the synthesis of pyrans. The immobilisation of NbCl5 over perlite was examined by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Thermogravimetric [...] Read more.
Niobium pentachloride functionalised perlite was prepared via a solid state dispersion technique, which was utilized as an efficient heterogeneous catalyst for the synthesis of pyrans. The immobilisation of NbCl5 over perlite was examined by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction (XRD), Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscope (SEM) with energy dispersive spectra (EDS), and Brunauer, Emmett and Teller (BET) surface area measurements. The wt% of NbCl5-loaded perlite was optimized based on the adequacy with respect to the yield of the pyrans in various solvents. The recyclability of the catalyst was validated in synthesizing pyrans and the results marked its efficiency up to five runs. The efficacy of the NbCl5/perlite catalyst was found to be comparable and better with respect to the other heterogeneous catalysts reported. The structures of pyrans were confirmed by FT-IR, 1H and 13C NMR spectral techniques. The proposed recyclable heterogeneous NbCl5/perlite catalyst simplifies the protocol, and has minimal chemical waste, a lower reaction time and a high-yield. Full article
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17 pages, 9463 KiB  
Article
Fabrication of Nano-Ag Encapsulated on ZnO/Fe2V4O13 Hybrid-Heterojunction for Photodecomposition of Methyl Orange
by Gowthami Kaliyamoorthy, Surya Chinnasamy, Uma Devi Pongiya, Vijayalakshmi Rajadurai, Thirunarayanan Ganesamoorthy, Stalin Thambusamy and Muthuvel Inbasekaran
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 16276; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142316276 - 06 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1154
Abstract
Novel silver encapsulated nanocomposite zinc oxide/iron tetra-poly-vanadate (Ag-ZnO/Fe2V4O13) was synthesized with various wt% of silver (1.0–2.5 wt% of Ag) by cost-effective photo-deposition method under the irradiation of ultraviolet-A (UV-A) light. The nanostructure of the Ag-ZnO/Fe2V [...] Read more.
Novel silver encapsulated nanocomposite zinc oxide/iron tetra-poly-vanadate (Ag-ZnO/Fe2V4O13) was synthesized with various wt% of silver (1.0–2.5 wt% of Ag) by cost-effective photo-deposition method under the irradiation of ultraviolet-A (UV-A) light. The nanostructure of the Ag-ZnO/Fe2V4O13 was explored by various characterization techniques. The surface functionalities were confirmed by Fourier transform infrared spectra and the crystalline nature of the material was revealed by X-ray diffraction patterns. Furthermore, the surface morphology and the optical properties of the composites were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray–elemental color mapping (ECM), high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM), ultraviolet–visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and photoluminescence. The crystallite size of Ag-ZnO/Fe2V4O13 was 28.5 nm which was consistent with HRTEM analysis. The photocatalytic activity was tested against aqueous methyl orange degradation under UV-A light irradiation. In all five runs, the stability of the catalyst was confirmed by reusability measurements and almost 98% of degradation was achieved. A suitable degradation pathway was proposed based on intermediates obtained during the degradation analyzed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Trapping experiments confirmed that the superoxide radical anion (O2•−) was considered as the most active species for this degradation process. Complete mineralization was confirmed by the measurements of chemical oxygen demand. Full article
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19 pages, 4828 KiB  
Article
Eco-Friendly Gelatin–Cerium–Copper Sulphide Nanoparticles for Enhanced Sunlight Photocatalytic Activity
by Kannaiyan Meena and Manohar Shanthi
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 15325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142215325 - 18 Nov 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1544
Abstract
Using a semiconductor catalyst with sunlight can make the photodegradation of pollutants an economically viable process since solar energy is an abundant natural energy source. Solar photocatalysis can provide clean and green eco-friendly technology for the analysis of industrial effluents. Photocatalytic deterioration of [...] Read more.
Using a semiconductor catalyst with sunlight can make the photodegradation of pollutants an economically viable process since solar energy is an abundant natural energy source. Solar photocatalysis can provide clean and green eco-friendly technology for the analysis of industrial effluents. Photocatalytic deterioration of the aqueous solution of malachite green oxalate dye (MGO dye) was studied using gelatin–cerium–copper sulphide (Ge-Ce-CuS) nanoparticles under the sunlight source. The nanoparticles were synthesised by a hydrothermal process. The structural properties of the nanoparticles have been characterised by XRD, SEM, EDS, HR-TEM, and XPS. The effects of the initial concentration of dye, dosage of photocatalyst, reaction time, and pH on dye removal efficiency were studied. The mineralisation of MGO dye has been confirmed by chemical oxygen demand (COD) measurements. The reusability of the catalyst was proved. The antibacterial activity has been studied for the synthesised nanoparticles. The higher photocatalytic degradation efficiency of Ge-Ce-CuS is explained by its reduced electron-hole recombination and sunlight activity. Full article
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12 pages, 3832 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Leakage in a Sustainable Water Pipeline Based on a Magnetic Flux Leakage Technique
by Mathivanan Durai, Peng Chi-Chuan, Chou-Wei Lan and Ho Chang
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 11853; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141911853 - 20 Sep 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1884
Abstract
Pipelines are typically used to transport oil, natural gas, water, etc. It is one of the most effective methods for transferring fluids over long distances. However, long-term usage of these pipes without maintenance results in the formation of residues, which will pave the [...] Read more.
Pipelines are typically used to transport oil, natural gas, water, etc. It is one of the most effective methods for transferring fluids over long distances. However, long-term usage of these pipes without maintenance results in the formation of residues, which will pave the way for pipeline accidents and soil contamination. To ensure the safety and protection of resources, these sustainable pipelines need to be inspected to avoid losses. This work aims to investigate various internal defect leaks in the non-uniform thickness of sustainable water pipes that are joined with a pipe expander. The magnetic flux leakage technique was implemented to evaluate these defects by means of a flexible GMR sensor array. An inspection robot containing two units was fabricated with the aid of 3D printing. The power unit provides the necessary thrust to actuate the entire robot whereas the sensing unit is responsible for analyzing the leaks. The robot’s movement is predicted by the MPU6050 and ultrasonic distance sensors that are plotted as motion plots. The sensing unit consists of permanent magnets and a giant magnetoresistance (GMR) array to interrogate the flux leakage in the defect region. The flux leakage from the defects was stored with the help of an Arduino microcontroller, which controls the overall process. In addition, the spring suspension is provided to regulate the motion of the robot. The flux leakage from the defect region was plotted as waveform graphs. Thus, the results are effectively presented and compared. The calculated signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the magnetic flux leakages (MFLs) for 4.5 mm-thick pipe defects was 12 to 20.8 dB, and for 6.52 mm-thick pipe defects, it was 9.5 to 19 dB. In sum, the MFL technique provides a reliable method for the sustainable development of water supply to wide areas. Full article
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14 pages, 5830 KiB  
Article
Influence of Cerium and Nickel Co-Doping on ZnO Nanostructures for Electrochemical Behavior of H2O2 Sensing Applications
by Nadana Shanmugam, Vediyappan Thirumal, Natesan Kannadasan, Kandasamy Murugavel, Natarajan Jayashri, Jinho Kim and Dongjin Choi
Sustainability 2022, 14(10), 6353; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14106353 - 23 May 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1748
Abstract
The present paper reports facile synthesis by simple chemical precipitation method for Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles with cerium (Ce) and nickel (Ni) co-doped ZnO nanocrystals. The different optimum conditions are analyzed in dual metallic (Ce/Ni) nanoparticles doped with ZnO nanoparticles. Successful incorporation of [...] Read more.
The present paper reports facile synthesis by simple chemical precipitation method for Zinc Oxide (ZnO) nanoparticles with cerium (Ce) and nickel (Ni) co-doped ZnO nanocrystals. The different optimum conditions are analyzed in dual metallic (Ce/Ni) nanoparticles doped with ZnO nanoparticles. Successful incorporation of cerium and nickel is predicted with X-ray diffraction (XRD) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Additionally, optical effects were studied as-prepared active materials by UV-Visible reflectance (UV-Vis-DRS) and photoluminescence (PL) measurements at room temperature. In addition, morphology investigations of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) are conducted. The results of electrochemical studies reveal that the co-doped product exhibits a higher H2O2 sensing response, with 46.21 μA/μM.cm2 for Ce/Ni-doped ZnO, which can use potentially for future biomedical applications. Full article
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Review

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30 pages, 7376 KiB  
Review
Review on Recent Developments in Bioinspired-Materials for Sustainable Energy and Environmental Applications
by Riti Thapar Kapoor, Mohd Rafatullah, Mohammad Qamar, Mohammad Qutob, Abeer M. Alosaimi, Hajer S. Alorfi and Mahmoud A. Hussein
Sustainability 2022, 14(24), 16931; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142416931 - 16 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3392
Abstract
Nature has always inspired innovative minds for development of new designs. Animals and plants provide various structures with lower density, more strength and high energy sorption abilities that can incite the development of new designs with significant properties. By observing the important functions [...] Read more.
Nature has always inspired innovative minds for development of new designs. Animals and plants provide various structures with lower density, more strength and high energy sorption abilities that can incite the development of new designs with significant properties. By observing the important functions of biological structures found in nature, scientists have fabricated structures by bio-inspiration that have been proved to exhibit a significant improvement over traditional structures for their applications in the environmental and energy sector. Bio-fabricated materials have shown many advantages due to their easy synthesis, flexible nature, high performance and multiple functions as these can be used in light harvesting systems, batteries, biofuels, catalysis, purification of water, air and environmental monitoring. However, there is an urgent need for sensitive fabrication instruments that can synthesize bio-inspired structures and convert laboratory scale synthesis into large scale production. The present review highlights recent advances in synthesis of bio-inspired materials and use of hierarchical nanomaterials generated through biomolecular self-assembly for their use in removal of environmental contaminants and sustainable development. Full article
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