Computer-aided study of Vacuum-UV/UV process for removal of organic pollutants from water supplies

by Mehdi Bagheri

Institution: University of British Columbia
Year: 2016
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2076572
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/57463


Water authorities are increasingly worried about the occurrence of organic micropollutants (e.g., algal toxins, endocrine disrupting compounds, pesticides, industrial chemicals, taste and odor compounds) in water supplies. Removal of organic micropollutants (OMPs) from water is cost-prohibitive, particularly for small and remote communities. Vacuum-UV/UV process, an incipient catalyst/chemical-free advanced oxidation process (AOP), is potentially a cost-effective solution for removal of harmful micropollutants from water. The main objective of this thesis was to investigate the feasibility of VUV/UV process for the removal of OMPs using a comprehensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analyzes. The developed model involved simultaneous resolution of the local transfer equations of momentum, mass, and radiative energy (for UV and VUV radiations), along with a complex kinetic scheme with more than 50 reactions. Given the importance of 185 nm and 254 nm emissions for the accurate modeling of the VUV/UV process, a new experimental method for measuring VUV and UV emissions of the mercury lamps was proposed. To assess the CFD model, VUV-induced degradation of model pollutants (atrazine, p-CBA) in ultrapure water samples was investigated under laminar flow conditions utilizing an axisymmetric laboratory-scale reactor. Afterwards, using an asymmetrical pilot-scale VUV/UV reactor, experimental validation of the CFD model was conducted for simulating the degradation of model pollutants (atrazine, 1,4-dioxane) in synthetic and natural contaminated waters under turbulent flow regime. Comparison of the modeling and experimental data indicated that the developed CFD model was able to predict successfully the degradation rate of target pollutants in the analyzed reactors. In addition, the proposed model showed to predict well the impact of the flow rates, and water matrix (NOM and alkalinity) on target pollutants degradation with less than 3 % average absolute relative deviation (AARD%). Relying on the insights gained by CFD analysis (e.g., knowing the critical role of pollutant mass transfer on the AOP performance of VUV systems), an improved VUV/UV process was developed through retrofitting baffles within the reactor. When compared the pollutant degradation and energy consumption of VUV/UV and H₂O₂/UV processes, superior performance of the improved VUV/UV process was observed.