Water-purifying composite material for use in the photocatalytic destruction of pollutants in water

UCLan Patent 


Title of the patent: Water-purifying composite material for use in the photocatalytic destruction of pollutants in water
Inventor: Richard McCabe
Status: PCT Filing
Published as: WO20147/155077 A1
Licensing status: Ready for exploitation
Priority filing date: 26 March 2014


Many industrial processes produce water soluble organic pollutants, which need removing before the water can be discharged.

UCLan`s patented technology enables the removal of these pollutants through the use of a relatively inexpensive water-purifying composite material and processing technology that is environmentally benign.


The global chemical industry is facing the continual challenge of meeting strict discharge limits while keeping overall operating costs down. This research has led to the development of a novel, cost effective, safe and recoverable catalyst system that mineralises water pollutants to purify waste water before it is discharged into the environment.

The invention produces water-purifying composite materials through growing photocatalytic metal compounds in situ within aluminosilicate mineral materials, such as clays or zeolites. Typically, pre-active metal species, such as iron cations, are first introduced into the aluminosilicate mineral material via ion-exchange, to replace the native ions originally residing in interlayer regions or pores of the aluminosilicate. The pre-active metal species may then be activated by transforming them, in situ within the interlayer regions or pores of the aluminosilicate, into the photocatalytic metal compound.

Such a transformation typically requires the application of heat over a suitable period of time. The interlayer regions or pores typically control the growth of a crystalline form of the photocatalytic metal compound such that highly catalytically active nanocrystals are produced. The nanocrystals thus formed suitably behave as semiconductors that can be activated through irradiation with visible light to promote catalytic electrons from a valence band into a conduction band to thereby make electrons available to catalyse reactions.

Core Advantages

​Previous technologies have relied on the adsorption of pollutants onto expensive activated charcoal. The charcoal waste produced using this method is then expensive to dispose of.

Our research has identified a number of novel catalysts that possess unique and advantageous properties that:

  • Facilitate rapid oxidative photocatalytic destruction of water pollutants using environmentally benign species that can be easily separated from purified water after use.
  • Are simple and inexpensive to produce and use, especially as natural daylight may be used to provide relevant electromagnetic radiation.
  • Extremely robust and durable, whilst retaining their catalytic activity
  • Is fully recyclable and destroys rather than simply adsorbs the pollutants.


​The invention provides a cost effective solution that prevents pollutants produced by the chemical industry being discharged into the environment.


To discuss this patent please contact innovationteam@uclan.ac.uk

Patent available to view on: Espacenet