Abstract Four photocatalyst samples, prepared from beech sawdust, were synthesized by an original method, combining pyrolysis and impregnation - two of them: TiO2 + activated carbon and other two - only activated carbon. The pyrolysis process has been carried out at two different temperatures - 680°C and 830°C. The prepared samples were characterized by a series of methods - XRD, BET, SEM and DTA/TG. The most important result was achieving visible light photocatalytic activity with an azo dye pollutant for both materials. The TiO2/AC-680°C sample demonstrated higher activity under visible light illumination than the TiO2/AC-830°C sample. The visible light activity was attributed to the active carbon component in the composite materials, which was evidenced by the photocatalytic tests with bare carbon (without any TiO2) manifesting visible light activity. The AC-680°C carbon was superior to the AC-830°C under visible illumination probably due to its higher specific surface area and porous texture. UV-light testing of the photocatalytic activity revealed that the TiO2/AC-680°C sample was higher than that of the TiO2/AC-830°C under polychromatic UV-A illumination (320–400 nm with a maximum at l = 365 nm). The TiO2/AC-680°C sample was also more efficient with the monochromatic UV-C illumination (l = 254 nm). Graphical abstract <alternatives> [...] </alternatives>
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