Solar photocatalytic disinfection using ink-jet printed composite TiO2/SiO2 thin films on flexible substrate : Applicability to drinking and marine water

Irina Levchuk*, Tomáš Homola, Javier Moreno-Andrés, Juan José Rueda-Márquez, Petr Dzik, Miguel Ángel Moríñigo, Mika Sillanpää, Manuel A. Manzano, Riku Vahala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Hybrid TiO2/SiO2 thin films deposited by material printing technique on flexible substrates were prepared, characterized and tested for solar photocatalytic disinfection. Effect of surface hydrophilicity/hydrophobicity of printed coatings on photocatalytic disinfection was studied by means of (i) drinking water contaminated with natural consortia of fecal bacteria (gram-negative: Escherichia coli and total coliforms; gram-positive: Enterococci), and (ii) seawater containing pathogenic gram-negative bacteria (Vibrio owensii, Vibrio alfacsensis and Vibrio harveyi). Inactivation of gram-negative bacteria in drinking water with fecal contamination by solar photocatalysis was slightly more efficient than solar disinfection, while for gram-positive bacteria similar efficiency was observed. These results, in combination with observed release of titanium from coatings (detected by means of inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometer), indicate that TiO2/SiO2 needs further improvements for solar photocatalytic disinfection of drinking water. Efficiency of seawater disinfection towards gram-negative Vibrio spp. (Vibrio owensii, Vibrio alfacsensis and Vibrio harveyi) was significantly enhanced when TiO2/SiO2 coatings were used under natural solar light. Moreover, hydrophobic thin films led to faster Vibrio spp. inactivation as compared to hydrophilic ones, which was attributed to higher bacteria adhesion on hydrophobic coatings. However, decrease of photocatalytic activity of hydrophobic TiO2/SiO2 coatings was observed after ten experimental cycles mainly due to deposition of salts on the surface of photocatalyst. Generally, results of this study suggest that autochthonous bacteria such as Vibrio spp. in seawater are significantly more resistant to solar disinfection in comparison with not autochthonous bacteria such as Escherichia coli, total coliforms and Enterococci in contaminated drinking water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-529
Number of pages12
JournalSolar Energy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Drinking water
  • Flexible thin films
  • Marine water
  • Solar photocatalysis

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