Microwave-steam activation (MSA), an innovative pyrolysis approach combining the use of microwave heating and steam activation, was investigated for its potential production of high grade activated carbon (AC) from waste palm shell (WPS) for methylene blue removal. MSA was performed via pyrolytic carbonization of WPS to produce biochar as the first step followed by steam activation of the biochar using microwave heating to form AC. Optimum yield and adsorption efficiency of methylene blue were obtained using response surface methodology involving several key process parameters. The resulting AC was characterized for its porous characteristics, surface morphology, proximate analysis and elemental compositions. MSA provided a high activation temperature above 500 °C with short process time of 15 min and rapid heating rate (≤150 °C/min). The results from optimization showed that one gram of AC produced from steam activation under 10 min of microwave heating at 550 °C can remove up to 38.5 mg of methylene blue. The AC showed a high and uniform surface porosity consisting high fixed carbon (73 wt%), micropore and BET surface area of 763.1 and 570.8 m2/g respectively, hence suggesting the great potential of MSA as a promising approach to produce high grade adsorbent for dye removal.
A synergistic effect of the activated limestone-based catalyst (LBC) and microwave irradiation on the transesterification of waste cooking oil (WCO) was screened using a two-level factorial design and response surface methodology. The catalyst was prepared using a wet-impregnation method and was characterised for its surface element, surface morphology, surface area and porosity. The reaction was performed in a purpose-built continuous microwave assisted reactor (CMAR), while the conversion and yield of biodiesel were measured using a gas chromatography. The results showed that the catalyst loading, methanol to oil molar ratio and the reaction time significantly affect the WCO conversion. The optimum conversion of oil to biodiesel up to 96.65% was achieved at catalyst loading of 5.47 wt%, methanol to oil molar ratio of 12.21:1 and the reaction time of 55.26 min. The application of CMAR in this work reduced the transesterification time by about 77% compared to the reaction time needed for a conventional reactor. The biodiesel produced in this work met the specification of American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM D6751). Engine test results shows the biodiesel has a lower NOx and particulate matters emissions compared to petrodiesel.
Waste furniture boards (WFBs) contain hazardous formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds when left unmanaged or improperly disposed through landfilling and open burning. In this study, pyrolysis was examined as a disposal and recovery approach to convert three types of WFBs (i.e., particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard) into value-added chemicals using thermogravimetric analysis coupled with Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry (TG-FTIR) and pyrolysis coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (Py-GC/MS). TG-FTIR analysis shows that pyrolysis performed at an optimum temperature of 250-550 °C produced volatile products mainly consisting of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and light hydrocarbons, such as methane. Py-GC/MS shows that pyrolysis at different final temperatures and heating rates recovered mainly phenols (25.9-54.7%) for potential use as additives in gasoline, colorants, and food. The calorific value of WFBs ranged from 16 to 18 MJ/kg but the WFBs showed high H/C (1.7-1.8) and O/C (0.8-1.0) ratios that provide low chemical energy during combustion. This result indicates that WFBs are not recommended to be burned directly as fuel, however, they can be pyrolyzed and converted into solid pyrolytic products such as biochar with improved properties for fuel application. Hazardous components, such as cyclopropylmethanol, were removed and converted into value-added compounds, such as 1,4:3,6-dianhydro-d-glucopyranose, for use in pharmaceuticals. These results show that the pyrolysis of WFBs at high temperature and low heating rate is a promising feature to produce value-added chemicals and reduce the formation of harmful chemical species. Thus, the release of hazardous formaldehyde and greenhouse gases into the environment is redirected.
The aim of this study was to compare the relative nutritional benefit of edible Malaysian fishes from the coast of Terengganu in Malaysia, as well as to perform a taxonomical characterization and metal assessment. Discrimination between species was carried out by a morphological and molecular approach by evaluating the total concentrations of metals by ICP-MS analyses and the fatty acids (FA) composition using the GC-MS approach on the fish fillet tissues. The taxonomical studies detected fishes of 11 families and 13 species. The heavy metal assessment showed that all detected elements did not exceed the regulatory limit stated by Malaysian Food Regulations. The proportion of saturated fatty acids (SFA) ranged from 33 to 58.34%, followed by the polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) values from 24 to 51.8%, and the lowest proportion was of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), ranging from 12.7 to 35.9%. The ω-3/ω-6 PUFA and PUFA/SFA ratios were determined in the range 1.1 to 7.4 and 0.35 to 1.6, respectively. The C20:5 ω-3 and C22:6 ω-3 acids were detected at levels comparable to those found in the corresponding species from similar tropical marine ecosystems. The high FA values can be useful biochemical tools for comparing the relative nutritional benefits of these biodiverse and non-toxic edible Malaysian fishes.
Microwave co-pyrolysis was examined as an approach for simultaneous reduction and treatment of environmentally hazardous hospital plastic waste (HPW), lignocellulosic (palm kernel shell, PKS) and triglycerides (waste vegetable oil, WVO) biowaste as co-feedstock. The co-pyrolysis demonstrated faster heating rate (16-43 °C/min) compared to microwave pyrolysis of single feedstock (9-17 °C/min). Microwave co-pyrolysis of HPW/WVO performed at 1:1 ratio produced a higher yield (80.5 wt%) of hydrocarbon liquid fuel compared to HPW/PKS (78.2 wt%). The liquid oil possessed a low nitrogen content (< 4 wt%) and free of sulfur that could reduce the release of hazardous pollutants during its use as fuel in combustion. In particular, the liquid oil obtained from co-pyrolysis of HPW/WVO has low oxygenated compounds (< 16%) leading to reduction in generation of potentially hazardous sludge or problematic acidic tar during oil storage. Insignificant amount of benzene derivatives (< 1%) was also found in the liquid oil, indicating the desirable feature of this pyrolysis approach to suppress the formation of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Microwave co-pyrolysis of HPW/WVO improved the yield and properties of liquid oil for potential use as a cleaner fuel, whereas the liquid oil from co-pyrolysis of HPW/PKS is applicable in the synthesis of phenolic resin.
Nanocellulose based gas barrier materials have become an increasingly important subject, since it is a widespread environmentally friendly natural polymer. Previous studies have shown that super-high gas barrier can be achieved with pure and hierarchical nanocellulose films fabricated through simple suspension or layer-by-layer technique either by itself or incorporating with other polymers or nanoparticles. Improved gas barrier properties were observed for nanocellulose-reinforced composites, where nanocellulose partially impermeable nanoparticles decreased gas permeability effectively. However, for nanocellulose-based materials, the higher gas barrier performance is jeopardized by water absorption and shape deformation under high humidity conditions which is a challenge for maintaining properties in material applications. Thus, numerous investigations have been done to solve the problem of water absorption in nanocellulose-based materials. In this literature review, gas barrier properties of pure, layer-by-layer and composite nanocellulose films are investigated. The possible theoretical gas barrier mechanisms are described, and the prospects for nanocellulose-based materials are discussed.
Investment in biofuels as sustainable alternatives for fossil fuels has gained momentum over the last decade due to the global environmental and health concerns regarding fossil fuel consumption. Hence, effective management of biofuel supply chain (BSC) components, including biomass feedstock production, biomass logistics, biofuel production in biorefineries, and biofuel distribution to consumers, is crucial in transitioning towards a low-carbon and circular economy (CE). The present study aims to render an inclusive knowledge map of the BSC-related scientific production. In this vein, a systematic review, supported by a keywords co-occurrence analysis and qualitative content analysis, was carried out on a total of 1975 peer-reviewed journal articles in the target literature. The analysis revealed four major research hotspots in the BSC literature, including (1) biomass-to-biofuel supply chain design and planning, (2) environmental impacts of biofuel production, (3) biomass to bioenergy, and (4) techno-economic analysis of biofuel production. Besides, the findings showed that the following subject areas of research in the BSC research community have recently attracted more attention: (i) global warming and climate change mitigation, (ii) development of the third-generation biofuels produced from algal biomass, which has recently gained momentum in the CE debate, and (iii) government incentives, pricing, and subsidizing policies. The provided insights shed light on the understanding of researchers, stakeholders, and policy-makers involved in the sustainable energy sector by outlining the main research backgrounds, developments, and tendencies within the BSC arena. Looking at the provided knowledge map, potential research directions in BSCs towards implementing the CE model, including (i) integrative policy convergence at macro, meso, and micro levels, and (ii) industrializing algae-based biofuel production towards the CE transition, were proposed.
Tetracycline is a potentially hazardous residual antibiotic detected in various sewages. High concentration (mg/L) of tetracycline is found in pharmaceutical/hospital wastewater and wastewater derived from livestock and poultry. So far, only antibiotics in μg/L level have been reported in granulation of aerobic sludge during wastewater treatment, but its effects in high concentration are rarely reported. In this study, the influence of tetracycline in high concentration (∼2 mg/L) on the formation of granular sludge, structure, and metabolic function of the microbial community during the granulation of aerobic sludge was investigated to improve the understanding of the aerobic granular sludge formation under high-level of tetracycline. The role of extracellular polymers substances (EPSs) derived from granular sludge in the granulation and tetracycline removal process was also investigated, showing that tetracycline improved the relative hydrophobicity, flocculability and protein/polysaccharide ratio of EPSs, accelerating the granulation of sludge. Succession of microbial communities occurred during the domestication of functional bacteria present in the sludge and was accompanied with regulation of metabolic function. The addition of tetracycline lead to an increase of tetracycline-degrading bacteria or antibiotic resistance genus. Those findings provide new perspectives of the influence of tetracycline on aerobic sludge granulation and the removal mechanism of tetracycline.
Recent studies show that fast hydropyrolysis (i.e., pyrolysis under hydrogen atmosphere operating at a rapid heating rate) is a promising technology for the conversion of biomass into liquid fuels (e.g., bio-oil and C4+ hydrocarbons). This pyrolysis approach is reported to be more effective than conventional fast pyrolysis in producing aromatic hydrocarbons and also lowering the oxygen content of the bio-oil obtained compared to hydrodeoxygenation (a common bio-oil upgrading method). Based on current literature, various non-catalytic and catalytic fast hydropyrolysis processes are reviewed and discussed. Efforts to combine fast hydropyrolysis and hydrotreatment process are also highlighted. Points to be considered for future research into fast hydropyrolysis and pending challenges are also discussed.
Rapid growth of aquatic weeds in treatment pond poses undesirable challenge to shellfish aquaculture, requiring the farmers to dispose these weeds on a regular basis. This article reviews the potential and application of various aquatic weeds for generation of biofuels using recent thermochemical technologies (torrefaction, hydrothermal carbonization/liquefaction, pyrolysis, gasification). The influence of key operational parameters for optimising the aquatic weed conversion efficiency was discussed, including the advantages, drawbacks and techno-economic aspects of the thermochemical technologies, and their viability for large-scale application. Via extensive study in small and large scale operation, and the economic benefits derived, pyrolysis is identified as a promising thermochemical technology for aquatic weed conversion. The perspectives, challenges and future directions in thermochemical conversion of aquatic weeds to biofuels were also reviewed. This review provides useful information to promote circular economy by integrating shellfish aquaculture with thermochemical biorefinery of aquatic weeds rather than disposing them in landfills.
Biochar has been considered as a potential tool to mitigate soil ammonia (NH3) volatilization and greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions in recent years. However, the aging effect of biochar on soils remains elusive, which introduces uncertainty on the effectiveness of biochar to mitigate global warming in a long term. Here, a meta-analysis of 22 published works of literature with 217 observations was conducted to systematically explore the aging effect of biochar on soil NH3 and GHGs emissions. The results show that, in comparison with the fresh biochar, the aging makes biochar more effective to decrease soil NH3 volatilization by 7% and less risk to contribute CH4 emissions by 11%. However, the mitigation effect of biochar on soil N2O emissions is decreased by 15% due to aging. Additionally, aging leads to a promotion effect on soil CO2 emissions by 25% than fresh biochar. Our findings suggest that along with aging, particularly the effect of artificial aging, biochar could further benefit the alleviation of soil NH3 volatilization, whereas its potential role to mitigate global warming may decrease. This study provides a systematic assessment of the aging effect of biochar to mitigate soil NH3 and GHGs, which can provide a scientific basis for the sustainable green development of biochar application.
The sustainable application of an up-flow anaerobic baffled reactor (UABR) to treat real paper and cardboard industrial effluent (PCIE) containing bronopol (2-bromo-2-nitropropan-1, 3-diol) was investigated. At a hydraulic retention time (HRT) of 11.7 h and a bronopol concentration of 7.0 mg L-1, the removal efficiencies of total chemical oxygen demand (CODtotal), CODsoluble, CODparticulate, total suspended solids (TSS), volatile suspended solids (VSS), carbohydrates, and proteins were 55.3 ± 5.2%, 26.8 ± 2.3%, 94.4 ± 4.6%, 89.4 ± 2.6%, 84.5 ± 3.2%, 72.1 ± 1.8%, and 22.4 ± 1.8%, respectively. The conversion of complex organics (e.g., carbohydrates and proteins) into bio-methane (CH4) was assisted via enzyme activities of, in U (100 mL)-1, α-amylase (224-270), α-xylanase (171-188), carboxymethyl cellulase (CM-cellulase) (146-187), polygalacturonase (56-126), and protease (67,000-75300). The acidogenic condition was dominant at a short HRT of 2.9 h, where methane yield dropped by 32.5%. Under this condition, the growth of methanogenic bacteria could be inhibited by volatile fatty acids (VFA) accumulation. The analysis of Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectra detected peaks relevant to methylene and nitro groups in the sludge samples, suggesting that entrapment/adsorption by the sludge bed could be a major mechanism for removing bronopol. The economic feasibility of UABR, as proposed to receive 100 m3 d-1 of PCIE, showed a payback period (profits from environmental benefits, biogas recovery, and carbon credit) of 7.6 yr. The study outcomes showed a high connection to the environmental-, economic-, and social-related sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Aquatic weeds pose hazards to aquatic ecosystems and particularly the aquatic environment in shellfish aquaculture due to its excessive growth covering entire freshwater bodies, leading to environmental pollution particularly eutrophication intensification, water quality depletion and aquatic organism fatality. In this study, pyrolysis of six aquatic weed types (wild and cultured species of Salvinia sp., Lemna sp. and Spirodella sp.) were investigated to evaluate its potential to reduce and convert the weeds into value-added chemicals. The aquatic weeds demonstrated high fixed carbon (8.7-47.3 wt%), volatile matter content (39.0-76.9 wt%), H/C ratio (1.5-2.0) and higher heating value (6.6-18.8 MJ/kg), representing desirable physicochemical properties for conversion into biofuels. Kinetic analysis via Coats-Redfern integral method obtained different orders for chemical reaction mechanisms (n = 1, 1.5, 2, 3), activation energy (55.94-209.41 kJ/mol) and pre-exponential factor (4.08 × 104-4.20 × 1017 s-1) at different reaction zones (zone 1: 150-268 °C, zone 2: 268-409 °C, zone 3: 409-600 °C). The results provide useful information for design and optimization of the pyrolysis reactor and establishment of the process condition to dispose this environmentally harmful species.
Microwave vacuum pyrolysis of palm kernel shell (PKS) was performed to produce biochar, which was then tested as bio-fertilizer in growing Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus). The pyrolysis approach produced biochar containing a highly porous structure with a high BET surface area of up to 270m2/g and low moisture content (≤10wt%), exhibiting desirable adsorption properties to be used as bio-fertilizer since it can act as a housing that provides many sites on which living microorganisms (mycelium or plant-growth promoting bacteria) and organic nutrients can be attached or adsorbed onto. This could in turn stimulate plant growth by increasing the availability and supply of nutrients to the targeted host plant. The results from growing Oyster mushroom using the biochar recorded an impressive growth rate and a monthly production of up to about 550g of mushroom. A shorter time for mycelium growth on one whole baglog (21days) and the highest yield of Oyster mushroom (550g) were obtained from cultivation medium added with 20g of biochar. Our results demonstrate that the biochar-based bio-fertilizer produced from microwave vacuum pyrolysis of PKS shows exceptional promise as growth promoting material for mushroom cultivation.
Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a plasticizer derived from phthalate ester, is used as an additive in industrial products such as plastics, paints, and medical devices. However, DEHP is known as an endocrine-disrupting chemical, causing cancers and adverse effects on human health. This study evaluated DEHP biodegradation efficiency via food waste composting during 35 days of incubation. At high DEHP concentrations (2167 mg kg-1) in food waste compost mixture, the DEHP biodegradation efficiency was 99% after 35 days. The highest degradation efficiency was recorded at the thermophilic phase (day 3 - day 11) with the biodegradation rate reached 187 mg kg-1 day-1. DEHP was metabolized to dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and dimethyl phthalate (DMP) and would be oxidized to benzyl alcohol (BA) and mineralized into CO2 and water via various metabolisms. Finally, the compost's quality with residual DEHP was evaluated using Brassica chinensis L. seeds via 96 h of germination tests. The compost (at day 35) with a trace amount of DEHP as the end product showed no significant effect on the germination rate of Brassica chinensis L. seeds (88%) compared to that without DEHP (94%), indicating that the compost can be reused as fertilizer in agricultural applications. These results provide an improved understanding of the DEHP biodegradation via food waste composting without bioaugmentation and hence facilitating its green remediation and conversion into value-added products. Nevertheless, further studies are needed on DEHP biodegradation in large-scale food waste composting or industrial applications.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 has led to nationwide lockdowns in many countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has played serious havoc on economic activities throughout the world. Researchers are immensely curious about how to give the best protection to people before a vaccine becomes available. The coronavirus spreads principally through saliva droplets. Thus, it would be a great opportunity if the virus spread could be controlled at an early stage. The face mask can limit virus spread from both inside and outside the mask. This is the first study that has endeavoured to explore the design and fabrication of an antiviral face mask using licorice root extract, which has antimicrobial properties due to glycyrrhetinic acid (GA) and glycyrrhizin (GL). An electrospinning process was utilized to fabricate nanofibrous membrane and virus deactivation mechanisms discussed. The nanofiber mask material was characterized by SEM and airflow rate testing. SEM results indicated that the nanofibers from electrospinning are about 15-30 μm in diameter with random porosity and orientation which have the potential to capture and kill the virus. Theoretical estimation signifies that an 85 L/min rate of airflow through the face mask is possible which ensures good breathability over an extensive range of pressure drops and pore sizes. Finally, it can be concluded that licorice root membrane may be used to produce a biobased face mask to control COVID-19 spread.
Microplastics (MPs) accumulation in farmland has attracted global concern. Smallholder farming is the dominant type in China's agriculture. Compared with large-scale farming, smallholder farming is not constrained by restrictive environmental policies and public awareness about pollution. Consequently, the degree to which smallholder farming is associated with MP pollution in soils is largely unknown. Here, we collected soil samples from both smallholder and large-scale vegetable production systems to determine the distribution and characteristics of MPs. MP abundance in vegetable soils was 147.2-2040.4 MP kg-1 (averaged with 500.8 MP kg-1). Soil MP abundance under smallholder cultivation (730.9 MP kg-1) was twice that found under large-scale cultivation (370.7 MP kg-1). MP particle sizes in smallholder and large-scale farming were similar, and were mainly <1 mm. There were also differences in MP characteristics between the two types of vegetable soils: fragments (60%) and fibers (34%) were dominant under smallholder cultivation, while fragments (42%), fibers (42%), and films (11%) were dominant under large-scale cultivation. We observed a significant difference in the abundance of fragments and films under smallholder versus large-scale cultivation; the main components of MPs under smallholder cultivation were PP (34%), PE (28%), and PE-PP (10%), while these were PE (29%), PP (16%), PET (16%), and PE-PP (13%) under large-scale cultivation. By identifying the shape and composition of microplastics, it can be inferred that agricultural films were not the main MP pollution source in vegetable soil. We show that smallholder farming produces more microplastics pollution than large-scale farming in vegetable soil.
Soil heavy metal contamination is increasing rapidly due to increased anthropogenic activities. Lead (Pb) is a well-known human carcinogen causing toxic effects on humans and the environment. Its accumulation in food crops is a serious hazard to food security. Developing environment-friendly and cost-efficient techniques is necessary for Pb immobilization in the soil. A pot experiment was executed to determine the role of biochar (BC), zero-valent iron nanoparticles (n-ZVI), and zero-valent iron nanoparticles biochar composite (n-ZVI-BC) in controlling the Pb mobility and bioaccumulation in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The results showed that BC and n-ZVI significantly enhanced the wheat growth by increasing their photosynthetic and enzymatic activities. Among all the applied treatments, the maximum significant (p ≤ 0.05) improvement in wheat biomass was with the n-ZVI-BC application (T3). Compared to the control, the biomass of wheat roots, shoots & grains increased by 92.5, 58.8, and 49.1%, respectively. Moreover, the soil addition of T3 amendment minimized the Pb distribution in wheat roots, shoots, and grains by 33.8, 26.8, and 16.2%, respectively. The outcomes of this experiment showed that in comparison to control treatment plants, soil amendment with n-ZVI-BC (T3) increased the catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity by 49.8 and 31.1%, respectively, ultimately declining electrolyte leakage (EL), malondialdehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content in wheat by 38.7, 33.3, and 38%respectively. In addition, applied amendments declined the Pb mobility in the soil by increasing the residual Pb fractions. Soil amendment with n-ZVI-BC also increased the soil catalase (CAT), urease (UR), and acid phosphatase (ACP) activities by 68, 59, and 74%, respectively. Our research results provided valuable insight for the remediation of Pb toxicity in wheat. Hence, we can infer from our findings that n-ZVI-BC can be considered a propitious, environment friendly and affordable technique for mitigating Pb toxicity in wheat crop and reclamation of Pb polluted soils.
Radionuclides released from nuclear contamination harm the environment and human health. Nuclear pollution spread over large areas and the costs associated with decontamination is high. Traditional remediation methods include both chemical and physical, however, these are expensive and unsuitable for large-scale restoration. Bioremediation is the use of plants or microorganisms to remove pollutants from the environment having a lower cost and can be upscaled to eliminate contamination from soil, water and air. It is a cheap, efficient, ecologically, and friendly restoration technology. Here we review the sources of radionuclides, bioremediation methods, mechanisms of plant resistance to radionuclides and the effects on the efficiency of biological adsorption. Uptake of radionuclides by plants can be facilitated by the addition of appropriate chemical accelerators and agronomic management, such as citric acid and intercropping. Future research should accelerate the use of genetic engineering and breeding techniques to screen high-enrichment plants. In addition, field experiments should be carried out to ensure that this technology can be applied to the remediation of nuclear contaminated sites as soon as possible.
Substrate toxicity would limit the upgrading of waste biomass to medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs). In this work, two fermentation modes of electro-fermentation (EF) and traditional fermentation (TF) with different concentration of liquor fermentation waste (20%, 40%, 60%) were used for MCFAs production as well as mechanism investigation. The highest caproate (4.04 g/L) and butyrate (13.96 g/L) concentrations were obtained by EF at 40% substrate concentration. TF experiments showed that the substrate concentration above 40% severely inhibited ethanol oxidation and products formation. Compared with TF mode, the total substrates consumption and product yields under EF mode were significantly increased by 2.6%-43.5% and 54.0%-83.0%, respectively. Microbial analysis indicated that EF effectively alleviated substrate toxicity and enriched chain elongation bacteria, particularly Clostridium_sensu_stricto 12, thereby promoting ethanol oxidation and products formation. Caproiciproducens tolerated high-concentration substrates to ensure normal lactate metabolism. This study provides a new way to produce MCFAs from high concentration wastewater.