Santiago Esplugas talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Fast Moving Front in the field of
Environment/Ecology. The author has also sent along
images of their work.
Article: Degradation of chlorophenols by means of
advanced oxidation processes: a general
Authors: Pera-Titus, M;Garcia-Molina, V;Banos, MA;Gimenez,
Journal: APPL CATAL B-ENVIRON, 47 (4): 219-256 FEB 20
Addresses: Univ Barcelona, Fac Chem, Dept Chem Engn &
Met, Marti i Franques 1, E-08028 Barcelona, Spain.
Univ Barcelona, Fac Chem, Dept Chem Engn & Met, E-08028
Univ Barcelona, Fac Chem, Dept Phys Chem, E-08028
with corresponding Research Front Map
Why do you think your paper is highly
I think is because it was a review describing
processes and it was possible to find, in this manuscript, comparisons
between different processes applied to remove an important group of water
In this paper we made an effort to sort through data from different authors
and publications in order to present clear conclusions. An important
working aspect of our paper was the diligent effort put forth by the Ph.D.
students whom Dr. Jaime Giménez and I had working with us at that
time. They were really quite brilliant.
Does it describe a new discovery, methodology, or
synthesis of knowledge, and would you summarize the significance of
your paper in layman’s terms?
The paper presents, discusses, and compares available oxidation processes
which are used to remove an important group of pollutants from water. I
think it could be considered as a synthesis of knowledge regarding
chlorophenols abatement by advanced oxidation processes. As a review paper,
readers may also have found a summary of the research field in a specific
topic (removal of chlorophenols).
How did you become involved in this research and were
there any particular problems encountered along the way?
My Ph.D. thesis (University of Barcelona, 1975) was about photochemical
reactor engineering and, at that time, I begin the application of
photochemistry methods to the abatement of pollutants. In the 1980s,
entering into the field of advanced oxidation processes, I began to study
the photo-oxidation of pollutants. Some of the main problems in the field
are in the necessary chemical-biological analytical tools—detection
of intermediates products, toxicity, biodegradability, etc.
Where do you see your research leading in the
The future of advanced oxidation processes is in the use of solar radiation
as uv-visible energy sources to remove pollutants, and the effort to
utilize a combination of these oxidation processes along with the
biological and/or membrane processes.
Do you foresee any social or political implications for
This research may lead to the discovery of cheaper and easier ways to
remove pollutants and to disinfect water.
Prof. Dr. Santiago Esplugas
Director, Chemical Engineering Department
University of Barcelona
Keywords: chlorophenols, water pollutants, oxidation processes,
photochemistry methods, photo-oxidation, toxicity, biodegradability,
uv-visible energy sources, pollutants.