A PHOTOCATALYTIC REACTOR FOR THE REMOVAL OF ETHYLENE IN AIR: PERFORMANCE UNDER CONDITIONS RELEVANT TO HORTICULTURE

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  • 1 University of Wisconsin, Department of Horticulture, 1575 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706-1590

A reactor designed to catalyze ethylene to carbon dioxide and water in the presence of UV radiation was tested under a wide range of conditions applicable to horticulture. The reactor was constructed of a hollow stainless steel housing into which a 4-W UV lamp was inserted. Fourteen grams of zirconia-titania catalyst crystals, particle size 0.50 to 0.75 mm, filled the space between lamp and housing. Polysulfone end caps sealed the unit on each end and provided fitting by which air was directed in one end and out the other. Increasing dewpoint temperature (5, 11, 17, and 22C) resulted in decreasing ethylene removal. Increasing reactor temperature (20, 30, 40, 60, and 80C) resulted in increasing ethylene removal. Increasing air flow (106, 255, 385, 665, 1000, and 2000 ml·min–1) resulted in a decreasing proportion of ethylene removed from the air stream but an increasing total amount of ethylene catalyzed per unit time (μl·day–1). Increasing ethylene concentration (65, 147, 260, and 1131 ppb) resulted in increasing ethylene removal. The reactor performed well under all these conditions, and these data will be used to design ethylene removal systems for a wide variety of horticultural applications.

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