Keywords: photocalalysts, solar energy, wastewater, Canada's oil sands

Recent years have seen a dramatic shift in public awareness of environmental issues. Our research group is using nanotechnology to develop photocatalysts which harness solar energy to break down organic pollutants in water by efficiently and passively scrubbing wastewater of toxic materials. Once the water is cleaned, the photocatalyst is completely recovered from the water and can be reused continuously to create more clean water without producing any waste.

One challenge that we aim to overcome using this technology is the large volumes of process water stored on site in Canada's oil sands operations, which cannot be released because they contain dissolved naphthenic acids, which are byproducts from the oil extraction process. Our lab is actively developing water treatment solutions to enable a green revolution for Canada's oil sands.