Dr Emmanuel Nyankson

Dr Emmanuel Nyankson (University of Ghana)

Research title: Synthesis and Application of Visible Light Photocatalyst in Oil Spill Remediation

Research project: My interest is researching into the application of photocatalysis in oil spill remediation and water purification systems. Photocatalysis is the acceleration of a photoreaction in the presence of a catalyst. Photocatalytic reaction at the surface of a semiconductor involves absorption of solar radiation with energy greater than the band gap energy of the semiconductor. This results in the excitation of electrons from the valence band to the conduction band. The valence band hole is strongly oxidizing and hence can be used to oxidize compounds into innocuous ones. This concept can be used in oil spill remediation. The key hypothesis is that crude oil which is a complex mixture of hydrocarbons can be oxidized into innocuous compounds by contacting it with a photocatalyst in the presence of sunlight. This remediation strategy is expected to be more efficient and reduce toxicity since Photocatalysis can oxidize water soluble hydrocarbons. However, one major limitation of the widely used photocatalysts is that they are active in the UV range. My research examines the synthesis of visible light photocatalyst and their application in oil spill remediation. This concept will be extended to develop water purification systems.

Collaborator Dr Vasant Kumar, Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy