Towards a Novel Combined Treatment Approach Using Light-Emitting Diodes and Photocatalytic Ceramic Membranes

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Natural disasters (such as earthquakes, floods, heatwaves and landslides), isolation and war affect the water access of millions of people worldwide. Developments in the areas of membrane filtration, photolysis and photocatalysis are important for safe water production and water re-use applications. This work aimed to test alternative ways to ensure effective disinfection of wastewater effluents: light-emitting diodes that emit at different wavelengths, photocatalytic membranes, and the combination of the two solutions. The different treatment processes were tested at the laboratory scale to assess their performance in the removal and inactivation of water quality indicator bacteria and fungi present in wastewater effluents. The membranes were found to be effective to retain the microorganisms (rejection values higher than 96%), while three small ultraviolet C light-emitting diodes that emitted light at 255 and 265 nm showed an excellent performance for inactivation (higher than 2.5-log inactivation of total coliforms and Escherichia coli after 10 min of exposure in real wastewater effluents). When photocatalytic membranes are used, ultraviolet A light-emitting diodes ensured effective treatment of the retentate (higher than 65%). The combination of these two processes is extremely promising since it ensures not only the production of a high quality permeate that can be reused, but also the treatment of the retentate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number292
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Ceramic membranes
  • Combined treatment
  • Indicator bacteria and fungi
  • Light-emitting diodes
  • Photocatalytic membranes
  • Retention and disinfection
  • Wastewater effluent


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