Control of Methyl Tertiary-Butyl Ether via Carbon-Doped Photocatalysts under Visible-Light Irradiation

Lee, Joon-Yeob;Jo, Wan-Kuen

  • Received : 2012.08.24
  • Accepted : 2012.10.23
  • Published : 2012.09.30


The light absorbance of photocatalysts and reaction kinetics of environmental pollutants at the liquid-solid and gas-solid interfaces differ from each other. Nevertheless, many previous photocatalytic studies have applied the science to aqueopus applications without due consideration of the environment. As such, this work reports the surface and morphological characteristics and photocatalytic activities of carbon-embedded (C-$TiO_2$) photocatalysts for control of gas-phase methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) under a range of different operational conditions. The C-$TiO_2$ photocatalysts were prepared by oxidizing titanium carbide powders at $350^{\circ}C$. The characteristics of the C-$TiO_2$ photocatalysts, along with pure TiC and the reference pure $TiO_2$, were then determined by X-ray diffraction, scanning emission microscope, diffuse reflectance ultraviolet-visible-near infrared (UV-VIS-NIR), and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. The C-$TiO_2$ powders showed a clear shift in the absorbance spectrum towards the visible region, which indicated that the C-$TiO_2$ photocatalyst could be activated effectively by visible-light irradiation. The MTBE decomposition efficiency depended on operational parameters, including the air flow rate (AFR), input concentration (IC), and relative humidity (RH). As the AFRs decreased from 1.5 to 0.1 L/min, the average efficiencies for MTBE increased from 11% to 77%. The average decomposition efficiencies for the ICs of 0.1, 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 ppm were 77%, 77%, 54%, and 38%, respectively. In addition, the decomposition efficiencies for RHs of 20%, 45%, 70%, and 95% were 92%, 76%, 50%, and 32%, respectively. These findings indicate that the prepared photocatalysts could be effectively applied to control airborne MTBE if their operational conditions were optimized.


Air flow rate;Input concentration;Relative humidity;Titanium carbide;Visible light


  1. Lee JW, Jo WK. Actual commuter exposure to methyl-tertiary butyl ether, benzene and toluene while traveling in Korean urban areas. Sci. Total Environ. 2002;291:219-228.
  2. Jia C, D'Souza J, Batterman S. Distributions of personal VOC exposures: a population-based analysis. Environ. Int. 2008;34:922-931.
  3. Mannino DM, Etzel RA. Are oxygenated fuels effective? An evaluation of ambient carbon monoxide concentrations in 11 western states, 1986 to 1992. J. Air Waste Manag. Assoc. 1996;46:20-24.
  4. Dodson RE, Levy JI, Spengler JD, Shine JP, Bennett DH. Influence of basements, garages, and common hallways on indoor residential volatile organic compound concentrations. Atmos. Environ. 2008;42:1569-1581.
  5. Hun DE, Corsi RL, Morandi MT, Siegel JA. Automobile proximity and indoor residential concentrations of BTEX and MTBE. Build. Environ. 2011;46:45-53.
  6. Geiss O, Tirendi S, Barrero-Moreno J, Kotzias D. Investigation of volatile organic compounds and phthalates present in the cabin air of used private cars. Environ. Int. 2009;35:1188- 1195.
  7. US Environmental Protection Agency. Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) [Internet]. Washington: US Environmental Protection Agency; c2012 [cited 2012 Dec 1]. Available from:
  8. Fujishima A, Zhang X, Tryk DA. $TiO_{2}$ photocatalysis and related surface phenomena. Surf. Sci. Rep. 2008;63:515-582.
  9. Ding H, Sun H, Shan Y. Preparation and characterization of mesoporous SBA-15 supported dye-sensitized $TiO_{2}$ photocatalyst. J. Photochem. Photobiol. A Chem. 2005;169:101-107.
  10. Li D, Haneda H, Hishita S, Ohashi N. Visible-light-driven nitrogen- doped $TiO_{2}$ photocatalysts: effect of nitrogen precursors on their photocatalysis for decomposition of gas-phase organic pollutants. Mater. Sci. Eng. B 2005;117:67-75.
  11. Chen HW, Ku Y, Kuo YL. Effect of Pt/$TiO_{2}$ characteristics on temporal behavior of o-cresol decomposition by visible light-induced photocatalysis. Water Res. 2007;41:2069-2078.
  12. Kuncewicz J, Zabek P, Stochel G, Stasicka Z, Macyk W. Visible light driven photocatalysis in chromate(VI)/$TiO_{2}$ systems: improving stability of the photocatalyst. Catal. Today 2011;161:78-83.
  13. Leary R, Westwood A. Carbonaceous nanomaterials for the enhancement of $TiO_{2}$ photocatalysis. Carbon 2011;49:741- 772.
  14. Tian L, Zhao Y, He S, Wei M, Duan X. Immobilized Cu-Cr layered double hydroxide films with visible-light responsive photocatalysis for organic pollutants. Chem. Eng. J. 2012;184:261-267.
  15. Kuo CS, Tseng YH, Huang CH, Li YY. Carbon-containing nano-titania prepared by chemical vapor deposition and its visible-light-responsive photocatalytic activit. J. Mol. Catal. A Chem. 2007;270:93-100.
  16. Shen M, Wu Z, Huang H, Du Y, Zou Z, Yang P. Carbon-doped anatase $TiO_{2}$ obtained from TiC for photocatalysis under visible light irradiation. Mater. Lett. 2006;60:693-697.
  17. Park Y, Kim W, Park H, Tachikawa T, Majima T, Choi W. Carbon- doped $TiO_{2}$ photocatalyst synthesized without using an external carbon precursor and the visible light activity. Appl. Catal. B 2009;91:355-361.
  18. Ren W, Ai Z, Jia F, Zhang L, Fan X, Zou Z. Low temperature preparation and visible light photocatalytic activity of mesoporous carbon-doped crystalline $TiO_{2}$. Appl. Catal. B 2007;69:138-144.
  19. Li H, Wang D, Fan H, Wang P, Jiang T, Xie T. Synthesis of highly efficient C-doped TiO(2) photocatalyst and its photogenerated charge-transfer properties. J. Colloid Interface Sci. 2011;354:175-180.
  20. Jo WK, Kim JT. Application of visible-light photocatalysis with nitrogen-doped or unmodified titanium dioxide for control of indoor-level volatile organic compounds. J. Hazard. Mater. 2009;164:360-366.
  21. Dong F, Wang H, Wu Z. One-step "green" synthetic approach for mesoporous C-doped titanium dioxide with efficient visible light photocatalytic activity. J. Phys. Chem. C 2009;113:16717-16723.
  22. Wang X, Lim TT. Solvothermal synthesis of C-N codoped $TiO_{2}$ and photocatalytic evaluation for bisphenol A degradation using a visible-light irradiated LED photoreactor. Appl. Catal. B 2010;100:355-364.
  23. Zand H, Kawase Y. Synthesis and characterization of S-doped Degussa P25 with application in decolorization of Orange II dye as a model substrate. J. Mol. Catal. A Chem. 2009;314:55- 62.
  24. Lin X, Rong F, Ji X, Fu D. Carbon-doped mesoporous $TiO_{2}$ film and its photocatalytic activity. Microporous Mesoporous Mater. 2011;142:276-281.
  25. Peng T, Zhao D, Dai K, Shi W, Hirao K. Synthesis of titanium dioxide nanoparticles with mesoporous anatase wall and high photocatalytic activity. J. Phys. Chem. B 2005;109:4947- 4952.
  26. Nam SH, Kim TK, Boo JH. Physical property and photo-catalytic activity of sulfur doped $TiO_{2}$ catalysts responding to visible light. Catal. Today 2012;185:259-262.
  27. Martinez T, Bertron A, Ringot E, Escadeillas G. egradation of NO using photocatalytic coatings applied to different substrates. Build. Environ. 2011;46:1808-1816.
  28. Wang Z, Liu J, Dai Y, Dong W, Zhang S, Chen J. CFD modeling of a UV-LED photocatalytic odor abatement process in a continuous reactor. J. Hazard. Mater. 2012;215-216:25-31.
  29. Bouzaza A, Vallet C, Laplanche A. Photocatalytic degradation of some VOCs in the gas phase using an annular flow reactor: determination of the contribution of mass transfer and chemical reaction steps in the photodegradation process. J. Photochem. Photobiol. A Chem. 2006;177:212-217.
  30. Akly C, Chadik PA, Mazyck DW. Photocatalysis of gas-phase toluene using silica-titania composites: performance of a novel catalyst immobilization technique suitable for largescale applications. Appl. Catal. B 2010;99:329-335.
  31. Jo WK, Yang CH. Feasibility of a tandem photocatalytic oxidation- adsorption system for removal of monoaromatic compounds at concentrations in the sub-ppm-range. Chemosphere 2009;77:236-241.
  32. Sleiman M, Conchon P, Ferronato C, Chovelon JM. Photocatalytic oxidation of toluene at indoor air levels (ppbv): Towards a better assessment of conversion, reaction intermediates and mineralization. Appl. Catal. B 2009;86:159-165.

Cited by

  1. C nanocrystals and epitaxial graphene-based lamellae by pulsed laser ablation of bulk TiC in vacuum vol.16, pp.24, 2014,
  2. Oxidation of organic contaminants in water by iron-induced oxygen activation: A short review vol.20, pp.3, 2015,
  3. Synthesis, structure and photocatalytic activity of calcined Mg-Al-Ti-layered double hydroxides vol.32, pp.1, 2015,
  4. Three-Dimensional TiO2 Structures Incorporated with Tungsten Oxide for Treatment of Toxic Aromatic Volatile Compounds vol.7, pp.4, 2017,


Supported by : National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF)