Graduate Research Assistant
Bo Wang is a 5th-year Ph.D. candidate at Rice University, majoring in Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on photocatalytic degradation of PFAS using inexpensive and earth-abundant element-containing boron nitride-based materials. He has 8 first-author publications, 12 co-author publications, and 3 patents. He has received numerous honors, including Climate Innovation Prize from Chevron Tech Venture, Kokes Award from the North American Catalysis Society, NSF NEWT Fellow from NSF, Rice Innovation Fellowship from Rice University, etc.
Efficient PFAS photodegradation over boron nitride-based materials
PFAS treatment technologies produce concentrated waste streams, which need efficient remediation technologies before discharging properly. I will present the PFAS photocatalytic destruction properties of boron nitride (BN)-based materials. BN, a commercially available, inexpensive, non-toxic, and earth-abundant element-containing material, photocatalytically PFOA and GenX under UV-C irradiation. Expanding from it, we then simple calcined BN and TiO2 and created a BN/TiO2 composite, that functioned at the longer wavelength and is more photocatalytically active than BN or TiO2 under UV-A and solar illumination for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) degradation. Under UV-A, BN/TiO2 degraded PFOA ~15× faster than TiO2 with a low EE/O value of 3.8 kWh/m3/order, while BN was inactive. A proof-of-concept demonstration using ambient solar found BN/TiO2 degraded PFOA in conventional plastic water bottles containing model drinking water with a half-life of 4.5 h. These identified photocatalytic properties of BN/TiO2 highlight the potential for the light-driven destruction of PFAS.