Photo-oxidation of nitrite anions in aqueous solution for the benchmarking of nano-TiO2 photocatalytic coatings

Amado Velázquez-Palenzuela*, Burak Ulusoy, Kim Dam-Johansen, Jakob Munkholt Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Photocatalytic coatings have potential as an air purifying technology for removal of pollutants such as NOx gases, which are converted into and immobilized as nitrate via photo-oxidation. This work is an investigation of the photocatalytic conversion of nitrite into nitrate in the aqueous phase. The study of this reaction is important to understand the mechanism through which the immobilization of the NOx species as nitrates takes place during NOx conversion, especially in humid environments. We investigate the photocatalytic performance of TiO2 nanoparticles (Aeroxide® P25) and the corresponding photocatalytic coatings prepared using acrylic binder (TiO2 NP-acrylic) towards the photo-conversion of nitrite. The combination of a simple colorimetric method (Griess test) for nitrite quantification and UV–vis spectroscopy for nitrite and nitrate analysis is shown to be a useful method for monitoring the nitrite conversion. Photocatalytic tests with suspended TiO2 nanoparticles show that the nitrite conversion benefits from lower pH, higher temperature and higher concentration of the photocatalyst. The advantage of lower pH is attributed to electrostatic attraction between TiO2 with adsorbed H3O+ and NO2, which facilitates transport of nitrite to the active surface. When the photocatalyst is immobilized in a coating the factor of primary significance is the pigment volume concentration relative to critical pigment volume concentration (λ), as the nitrite conversion increases linearly with λ in the range 0.6–1.2. This is attributed to the creation of a more porous structure that facilitates the access of nitrite and light to the active TiO2 surface sites.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107380
JournalProgress in Organic Coatings
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Design of experiments
  • Griess test
  • Nitrite photo-removal
  • Photocatalytic coatings
  • TiO2 nanoparticles
  • UV irradiation


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