Volatile-Organic-Compound-Intercepting Solar Distillation Enabled by a Photothermal/Photocatalytic Nanofibrous Membrane with Dual-Scale Pores

Chengjie Song, Dianpeng Qi, Yu Han, Ying Xu, Hongbo Xu, Shijie You, Wei Wang, Ce Wang, Yen Wei, Jun Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Solar distillation is emerging as a robust and energy-effective tool for water purification and freshwater production. However, many water sources contain harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can evaporate through the photothermal evaporators and be collected together with distilled water, or even be enriched in the distilled water. In view of the penetration of volatile organic compounds, herein, we rationally demonstrate a dual-scale porous, photothermal/photocatalytic, flexible membrane for intercepting volatile organic compounds during solar distillation, which is based on a mesoporous oxygen-vacancy-rich TiO2-x nanofibrous membrane (m-TiO2-x NFM). The dual-scale porous structure was constructed by micrometer-sized interconnected tortuous pores formed by the accumulation of m-TiO2-x nanofibers and nanometer-sized pores in the m-TiO2-x individual nanofibers. Consequently, the membrane can sustainably in situ intercept VOCs by providing more photocatalytic reactive sites for collision (mainly by mesopores) and longer tortuous channels for prolonging VOC retention (mainly by micrometer-sized pores); thus, it results in less than 5% of phenol residual in distilled water. As a proof of concept, when the m-TiO2-x NFM is employed to purify practical river water in an evaporation prototype under real solar irradiation, complex volatile natural organic contaminants can be effectively intercepted and the produced distilled water meets the drinking water standards of China. This development will promote the application prospects of solar distillation.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9025-9033
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 21 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-21

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


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