Portable Photoelectrocatalytic Reactor for Water Disinfection


Although most UV water treatment systems use mercury lamps, UV-light-emitting diode (LED) designs are gaining popularity as a safer alternative, particularly for smaller portable devices. There are several available UV devices on the market, including a water bottle with a cap-mounted 365-nm UV-LED light for sterilization. However, this and other UV-based processes benefit only from photon (light) sterilization (photolysis), with potentially inconsistent efficacy due to varying lamp power, UV dose, reaction time, and proximity of the UV light to microorganisms.

Invention Description
Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a compact photoelectrocatalytic reactor with semiconductor-coated walls (e.g., TiO2 nanotubes) that, upon exposure to UV-LED light, can disinfect water with in-situ generated oxidants (i.e., ●OH). The design is well suited for portable operation, completely chemical-free with a small rechargeable (optional) battery. This flexible reactor can be designed for a larger unit as a point-of-use (POU) household water treatment system. Disinfection of poor-quality water (e.g., groundwater, lake, rivers) can also be explored with this device to reduce microbial-related risks. Among the unique features of this chemical-free system are portability, ease of operation, and low energy requirements for successful operation.


The proposed device provides electrophotocatalytic disinfection of bacteria in less than 15 s of treatment, providing safe drinking water.

Laboratory Homepage of Professor Paul Westerhoff

Laboratory Homepage of Professor Francois Perreault

Faculty Profile of Professor Sergio Garcia-Segura

Faculty Profile of Professor Shahnawaz Sinha