Membranes (Basel). 2022 Jul 29;12(8):745. doi: 10.3390/membranes12080745.
Photocatalytic membrane reactors (PMRs) are a promising technology for wastewater reclamation. The principles of PMRs are based on photocatalytic degradation and membrane rejection, the different processes occurring simultaneously. Coupled photocatalysis and membrane filtration has made PMRs suitable for application in the removal of emerging contaminants (ECs), such as diclofenac, carbamazepine, ibuprofen, lincomycin, diphenhydramine, rhodamine, and tamoxifen, from wastewater, while reducing the likelihood of byproducts being present in the permeate stream. The viability of PMRs depends on the hypotheses used during design and the kinetic properties of the systems. The choice of design models and the assumptions made in their application can have an impact on reactor design outcomes. A design’s resilience is due to the development of a mathematical model that links material and mass balances to various sub-models, including the fluid dynamic model, the radiation emission model, the radiation absorption model, and the kinetic model. Hence, this review addresses the discrepancies with traditional kinetic models, fluid flow dynamics, and radiation emission and absorption, all of which have an impact on upscaling and reactor design. Computational and analytical descriptions of how to develop a PMR system with high throughput, performance, and energy efficiency are provided. The potential solutions are classified according to the catalyst, fluid dynamics, thickness, geometry, and light source used. Two main PMR types are comprehensively described, and a discussion of various influential factors relating to PMRs was used as a premise for developing an ideal reactor. The aim of this work was to resolve potential divergences that occur during PMRs design as most real reactors do not conform to the idealized fluid dynamics. Lastly, the application of PMRs is evaluated, not only in relation to the removal of endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) from wastewater, but also in dye, oil, heavy metals, and pesticide removal.