Enhanced Photocatalytic Solar Disinfection of Water as Effective Intervention Against Waterborne Diarrheal Diseases in Developing Countries

EPA Grant Number: SU833942
Title: Enhanced Photocatalytic Solar Disinfection of Water as Effective Intervention Against Waterborne Diarrheal Diseases in Developing Countries
Investigators: Dionysiou, Dionysios D. , Bandala, Erick R. , Dunlop, Patrick
Current Investigators: Dionysiou, Dionysios D. , Pelaez, Miguel A , Bandala, Erick R. , Castillo, Jordana , Dunlop, Patrick
Institution: University of Cincinnati , NIBEC, School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering , Universidad de Las Américas-Puebla
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2008 through August 14, 2009
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Materials & Chemicals , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Providing safe drinking water in developing countries is a major critical necessity. In Latin America and the Caribbean, an important percentage of people in rural areas have no access to safe water supplies. This lack of access to safe drinking water is commonly related to poverty. Mexico is not the exception and the lack of safe drinking water affects both urban and rural areas. Diseases caused by potentially waterborne infectious microorganisms and other water contaminants affect around 6.4% of the total population of the country. The most affected population sector by this type of diseases is the rural population, representing around 25.3% of the Mexican population. Solar water disinfection (SODIS) is a simple, environmentally friendly and low cost point-of-use treatment technology for drinking water purification. However, bacterial re-growth after short storage (24 h) of SODIS treated water has been observed. Seeking for improvements of SODIS performance, reduction of irradiation time and avoidance of bacteria re-growth, solar based-Advanced Oxidation Technologies (AOTs), such as solar TiO2 photocatalysis, are promising enhancements to SODIS. Unfortunately, one of the main problems with the use of conventional TiO2 for solar applications is its limited capability to absorb only the radiation in the UV range, which is only about 5-8% of the total solar radiation.


In this study, we proposed to use novel nanotechnological procedures to synthesize visible light activated nitrogen-doped TiO2 (N-TiO2) with high surface area and immobilized on appropriate support materials that will be used in novel photocatalytic reactors for water purification in rural zones in Mexico as a case study. In combination with visible light activated TiO2, we also propose to incorporate in our process the V trough solar collector which has simple geometry and demonstrated in preliminary results performance comparable to other types of solar collectors. Because of its simpler geometry, the V trough solar collector is much less expensive and is attractive to applications is developing countries. We name this overall process for water purification “Enhanced Photocatalytic Solar Disinfection” (ENPHOSODIS). In addition to the synthesis of visible light activated materials, development of solar photocatalytic reactors and evaluation of their efficiency for water treatment in the target rural areas in Mexico, this project will also include obtaining and documenting information about the health, social, and economic effects of consumption of non safe drinking water in a specific rural, isolated zone of Mexico. This will help understand cultural aspects and enhance public awareness among the inhabitants of the zone for implementation of effective technologies for water purification and protection of human health in the region. This will be a case study and the results can be utilized to improve water quality in other developing countries around the world.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 2 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

solar photocatalysis, visible light, material characterization,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report