A research team at Kyungpook National University has developed an advanced water treatment system that can break down most of the naproxen, a drug that has failed to filter existing sewage treatment facilities.
Chang Min Park, a professor of Environmental Engineering at Kyungpook National University, and Yeo Min Yoon, a professor at South Carolina University, developed a technology that can break down 99.9% of naproxen, an anti-inflammatory drug, in an hour.
Existing advanced oxidation processes (AOPs), such as photocatalysts, ozone oxidation, and penton oxidation, require high processing costs and energy and often remain in soil and water systems with low efficiency due to incomplete release of residual drugs such as naproxen.
The research team applied a sono-photometric degradation process to a “hybrid catalyst material with a multi-component hierarchical structure” synthesized by doping a cerium oxide-zirconia (CeO2-ZrO2) nanostructure with molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanostructure.
As a result, it was confirmed that when multi-component hybrid nanoparticles absorbed photo-ultrasonic energy, they maximized the production of active oxygen species through sonar light and hot spot formation, eliminating 99.9% of naproxen within an hour.
Furthermore, the research team said that even if multi-component hybrid nanoparticles are reused five times, the processing cost is expected to be reduced in that catalytic properties and structural stability are maintained.
“If we actively utilize the next generation of advanced water treatment technology developed this time, we will be able to drastically reduce the existing huge cost, time, and energy required to deal with naproxen remaining in the environment. In particular, the study is expected to be applied to the removal of other aqueous residual drugs.”