In this present study, silver (Ag) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles were successfully deposited on coconut shell-derived activated carbon (CSAC), to synthesize a novel nanocomposite (CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs) for the adsorption of Methylene Blue (MB) dye from aqueous solution. The fabricated CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs nanocomposite was analyzed by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), Transmission Electron Microscope (TEM) equipped with Energy Dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) detector, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscope (XPS), and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET). The successful deposition of AgNPs and TiO2NPs on CSAC surface was revealed by the TEM/EDX, SEM, and XPS analysis. The mesopore structure of CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs has a BET surface area of 301 m2/g. The batch adsorption studies were conducted and the influence of different parameters, i.e., adsorbent dose, adsorption time, initial dye concentration, pH and temperature were investigated. The nonlinear isotherm and kinetic modelling demonstrated that adsorption data were best fitted by Sips isotherm and pseudo-second-order models, respectively. The maximum adsorption capacity of MB onto CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs by the Sips model was 184 mg/g. Thermodynamic results revealed that the adsorption was endothermic, spontaneous and physical in nature. CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs revealed that MB absorption by CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs was spontaneous and endothermic. The uptake capacity of MB was influenced significantly by the presence of competing ions including, NO3-, HCO3, Ca2+, and Na+. Repeated tests indicated that the CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs can be regenerated and reused six times before being discarded. The primary separation mechanism between MB dye and CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs was the electrostatic interaction. Thus, CSAC@AgNPs@TiO2NPs was an outstanding material, which displayed good applicability in real water with ≥ 97% removal of MB dye.
Biochar, derived from unused biomass, is widely considered for its potential to deal with climate change problems. Global interest in biochar is attributed to its ability to sequester carbon in soil and to remediate aquatic environment from water pollution. As soil conditioner and/or adsorbent, biochar offers opportunity through a circular economy (CE) paradigm. While energy transition continues, progress toward low-emissions materials accelerates their advance towards net-zero emissions. However, none of existing works addresses CE-based biochar management to achieve carbon neutrality. To reflect its novelty, this work provides a critical overview of challenges and opportunities for biochar to promote CE and carbon neutrality. This article also offers seminal perspectives about strengthening biomass management through CE and resource recovery paradigms, while exploring how the unused biomass can promote net zero emissions in its applications. By consolidating scattered knowledge in the body of literature into one place, this work uncovers new research directions to close the loops by implementing the circularity of biomass resources in various fields. It is conclusive from a literature survey of 113 articles (2003-2023) that biomass conversion into biochar can promote net zero emissions and CE in the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Depending on their physico-chemical properties, biochar can become a suitable feedstock for CE. Biochar application as soil enrichment offsets 12% of CO2 emissions by land use annually. Adding biochar to soil can improve its health and agricultural productivity, while minimizing about 1/8 of CO2 emissions. Biochar can also sequester CO2 in the long-term and prevent the release of carbon back into the atmosphere after its decomposition. This practice could sequester 2.5 gigatons (Gt) of CO2 annually. With the global biochar market reaching USD 368.85 million by 2028, this work facilitates biochar with its versatile characteristics to promote carbon neutrality and CE applications.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are critical environmental concerns due to their intrinsic toxic aromatic nature and concomitant circumstances that potentially harm the ecological and human health. In this study, converting mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla King) pericarps to value-added biochar by pyrolysis for evaluating the potential formation/destruction of biochar-bound PAHs was studied for the first time. This study designed and optimized the thermal processing conditions at 300-900 °C in the CO2 or N2 atmosphere, and heteroatoms (N, O, B, NB, and NS) were modified for mahogany pericarps biochar (MPBC) production. The MPBC500 exhibited significantly higher pyrolysis products of PAHs (2780 ± 38 ng g-1) than that of MPBC900 (78 ± 6 ng g-1) under N2 without introducing modified elements. Specifically, the inhibition capacity of MPBC500 for PAHs under CO2 was improved most efficiently by the active nitrogen species of the pyridinic N and pyrrolic N groups. The pyrolysis conditions and heteroatom modification of MPBC altered its physicochemical properties, that is, aromaticity and hydrophobicity, affecting the PAH concentration and composition in the pyrolysis products. This study reveals sustainable approaches to reduce the environmental footprint of biochar by focusing on increases in PAHs pollution in sustainable biochar produced from a low-carbon bioeconomy perspective.
Removal of H2S (hydrogen sulfide) from biogas is anticipated for higher energy conversion of methane (CH4), while reducing the detrimental impacts of corroding the metal parts in the plant and its hazardous effect on humans and the environment. The introduction of microwave (MW) heating and nitrogen-modification could generate superior adsorbent features, contributing to high H2S removal. Up to date, there is no work reported on the influence of physicochemical characteristics of nitrogen-modified carbon synthesized via MW and conventional heating (TH) methods and their performance in H2S removal. Palm shell activated carbon (PSAC) was functionalized with nitrogen groups via urea impregnation, followed by the synthesis of MW and TH at 950 °C, 500 ml/min of N2 flow rate and 30 min of heating time. MW and TH heating effects on the modified PSAC adsorbent were analysed and compared towards hydrogen sulfide (H2S) removal. PSAC with nitrogen functionalization produced using MW heating (PSAC-MW) demonstrates superior performance, with an adsorption capacity of 356.94 mg/g. The adsorbent sample generated using MW heating exhibited notable properties, including a large surface area and a sponge-like structure, with new pores developed within the current pores. Instead of that, there was an observation of 'hot spot' appearance during the MW heating process, which is believed to be responsible for the development of physical and chemical characteristics of the adsorbent. Thus, it is believed that MW heating was assisted in the development of the adsorbent's properties and at the same time contributed to the high removal of H2S at low adsorption temperature. The utilization of biomass-based adsorbent (PSAC) for H2S removal can address the lignocellulosic waste disposal problem, while mitigating the H2S release from the biogas production plants thus has several environmental merits. This indirectly contributed to zero-waste generation, while overcoming the adverse effects of H2S.
The use of agricultural by-products such as Moringa oleifera plants is one effort to support the reduction of environmental pollution. Activated carbon produces from agricultural wastes is relatively less expensive and can replace traditional methods such as renewable as well as nonrenewable materials such as petroleum residue and coal. In this study, the removal of bisphenol A from aqueous media was studied using activated carbon produced from M. oleifera pods and peels. A batch adsorption study was carried out by varying the parameters of the adsorption process. A maximum removal percentage of 95.46% was achieved at optimum conditions of 2.5 g L-1 adsorbent dose, pH 7, 60 min contact time and 20 mg L-1 initial concentration of BPA. The BET surface areas of MOP, MOP-AC and MOP-ACZ were found to be 12.60, 4.10 and 45.96 m2/g, respectively. The experimental data were analyzed by Langmuir, Freundlich and Temkin adsorption isotherm models. Equilibrium data fitted well with the Langmuir isotherm with a maximum monolayer adsorption capacity of 20.14 mg g-1. The rates of adsorption were found to conform to the pseudo-second-order kinetics with a good correlation. The results indicate that the M. oleifera activated carbon could be employed as a low-cost alternative to commercial activated carbon in the removal of BPA from water.
Microplastic (MP) is an emerging contaminant of concern due to its abundance in the environment. Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) can be considered as one of the main sources of microplastics in freshwater due to its inefficiency in the complete removal of small MPs. In this study, a column-based MP removal which could serve as a tertiary treatment in WWTPs is evaluated using granular activated carbon (GAC) as adsorbent/filter media, eliminating clogging problems commonly caused by powder form activated carbon (PAC). The GAC is characterized via N2 adsorption-desorption isotherm, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and contact angle measurement to determine the influence of its properties on MP removal efficiency. MPs (40-48 μm) removal up to 95.5% was observed with 0.2 g/L MP, which is the lowest concentration tested in this work, but still higher than commonly used MP concentration in other studies. The performance is reduced with further increase in MP concentration (up to 1.0 g/L), but increasing the GAC bed length from 7.5 to 17.5 cm could lead to better removal efficiencies. MP particles are immobilized by the GAC predominantly by filtration process by being entangled with small GAC particles/chips or stuck between the GAC particles. MPs are insignificantly removed by adsorption process through entrapment in GAC porous structure or attachment onto the GAC surface.
In acid soils, soluble inorganic phosphorus is fixed by aluminium and iron. To overcome this problem, acid soils are limed to fix aluminium and iron but this practice is not economical. The practice is also not environmentally friendly. This study was conducted to improve phosphorus availability using organic amendments (biochar and compost produced from chicken litter and pineapple leaves, resp.) to fix aluminium and iron instead of phosphorus. Amending soil with biochar or compost or a mixture of biochar and compost increased total phosphorus, available phosphorus, inorganic phosphorus fractions (soluble inorganic phosphorus, aluminium bound inorganic phosphorus, iron bound inorganic phosphorus, redundant soluble inorganic phosphorus, and calcium bound phosphorus), and organic phosphorus. This was possible because the organic amendments increased soil pH and reduced exchangeable acidity, exchangeable aluminium, and exchangeable iron. The findings suggest that the organic amendments altered soil chemical properties in a way that enhanced the availability of phosphorus in this study. The amendments effectively fixed aluminium and iron instead of phosphorus, thus rendering phosphorus available by keeping the inorganic phosphorus in a bioavailable labile phosphorus pool for a longer period compared with application of Triple Superphosphate without organic amendments.
A kinetic model consisting of first-order desorption and biodegradation processes was developed to describe the bioregeneration of phenol- and p-nitrophenol-loaded powdered activated carbon (PAC) and pyrolyzed rice husk (PRH), respectively. Different dosages of PAC and PRH were loaded with phenol or p-nitrophenol by contacting with the respective phenolic compound at various concentrations. The kinetic model was used to fit the phenol or p-nitrophenol concentration data in the bulk solution during the bioregeneration process to determine the rate constants of desorption, k(d), and biodegradation, k. The results showed that the kinetic model fitted relatively well (R(2)>0.9) to the experimental data for the phenol- and p-nitrophenol-loaded PAC as well as p-nitrophenol-loaded PRH. Comparison of the values of k(d) and k shows that k is much greater than k(d). This indicates clearly that the desorption process is the rate-determining step in bioregeneration and k(d) can be used to characterize the rate of bioregeneration. The trend of the variation of the k(d) values with the dosages of PAC or PRH used suggests that higher rate of bioregeneration can be achieved under non-excess adsorbent dosage condition.
Improving the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of biochar production is crucial to meet increased global market demand. Here, we developed a single-step microwave steam activation (STMSA) as a simplified yet efficient method to produce microwave activated biochar (MAB) from waste palm shell (WPS). The STMSA recorded a higher heating rate (70 °C/min) and higher conversion (45 wt%) of WPS into highly microporous MAB (micropore surface area of 679.22 m2/g) in contrast with the conventional heating approach (≤ 12-17 wt%). The MAB was then applied as biosorbent for hazardous landfill leachate (LL) treatment and the adsorption performance was compared with commercial activated carbon under different pH, adsorbent quantity, adsorbate concentrations, and contact times. The MAB demonstrated high adsorption capacity, achieving maximum adsorption efficiency at 595 mg/g and 65 % removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) with 0.4 g/L of adsorbent amount under optimal acidic conditions (pH ≈ 2-3) after 24 h of contact time. The Freundlich isotherm and pseudo second-order kinetic models were well-fitted to explain the equilibrium adsorption and kinetics. The results indicate the viability of STMSA as a fast and efficient approach to produce activated biochar as a biosorbent for the treatment of hazardous landfill leachate.
Microwave pyrolysis of oil palm fiber (OPF) with three types of Na-based catalysts was experimentally investigated to produce biochar. Sodium hydroxide (NaOH), sodium chloride (NaCl), and sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) with purity 99.9% were selected for this investigation. Microwave muffle reactor (Model: HAMiab-C1500) with a microwave power controller including a microwave generator was used to perform the microwave pyrolysis. OPF particles were used after removing foreign materials, impurities, and dust. Microwave power ranges from 400 to 900 W, temperature ranges from 450 to 700 °C, and N2 flow rates ranges from 200 to -1200 cm3/min were used along with all three Na-based catalysts for this investigation. Lower microwave power, temperature, and N2 flow rate have been found favorable for higher yield of biochar. NaOH is to be found as the more suitable catalyst than NaCl and Na2CO3 to produce biochar. A maximum biochar yield (51.42 wt%) has been found by using the catalysts NaOH at N2 flow rate of 200 cm3/min. One sample of the biochar (maximum yield without catalysts) was selected for further characterization via thermo gravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), BET surface area, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and ultimate and proximate analysis. SEM and BET surface area analysis showed the presence of some pores in the biochar. High percentage of carbon (60.24 wt%) was also recorded in the sample biochar. The pores and high percentage of carbon of biochar have significant impact on soil fertilization by increasing the carbon sequestration in the soil. It assists to slow down the decomposition rate of nutrients from soil and therefore enhances the soil quality.
Biochar is a stabilized, carbon-rich by-product derived from pyrolysis of biomass. Recently, biochar has received extensive attentions because of its multi-functionality for agricultural and environmental applications. Biochar can contribute to sequestration of atmosphere carbon, improvement of soils quality, and mitigation of environmental contaminations. The capability of biochar for specific application is determined by its properties which are predominantly controlled by source material and pyrolysis route variables. The biochar sorption potential is a function of its surface area, pores volume, ash contents, and functional groups. The impacts of each production factors on these characteristics of biochar need to be well-understood to design efficient biochars for pesticides removal. The effects of biomass type on biochar sorptive properties are determined by relative amounts of its lingo-cellulosic compounds, minerals content, particles size, and structure. The highest treatment temperature is the most effective pyrolysis factor in the determination of biochar sorption behavior. The expansion of micro-porosity and surface area and also increase of biochar organic carbon content and hydrophobicity mostly happen by pyrolysis peak temperature rise. These changes make biochar suitable for immobilization of organic contaminants. Heating rate, gas pressure, and reaction retention time after the pyrolysis temperatures are sequentially important pyrolysis variables effective on biochar sorptive properties. This review compiles the available knowledge about the impacts of production variables on biochars sorptive properties and discusses the aging process as the main factor in post-pyrolysis alterations of biochars sorption capacity. The drawbacks of biochar application in the environment are summarized as well in the last section.
A low-cost fruit waste namely watermelon peel (WMP) was utilized as a promising precursor for the preparation of mesoporous activated carbon (WMP-AC) via microwave assisted-K2CO3 activation. The WMP-AC was applied as an adsorbent for methylene blue dye (MB) removal. Several types of characterizations, such as specific surface area (BET), Scanning Electron Microscopy with Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), Elemental Analysis (CHNS/O), and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) were used to identify the physicochemical properties of WMP-AC. Furthermore, Box-Behnken design (BBD) was applied to optimize the influence of the adsorption operational variables (contact time, adsorbent dose, working temperature, and solution pH) on MB dye adsorption. Thus, based on significant interactions, the optimum BBD output shows the best removal of 50 mg·L-1 MB (92%) was recorded at an adsorbent dose of 0.056 g, contact time of 4.4 min, working temperature of 39 °C, and solution pH 8.4. The Langmuir uptake capacity of WMP-AC was found to be 312.8 mg·g-1, with the best fitness to the pseudo-second-order kinetics model and an endothermic adsorption process. The adsorption mechanisms of MB by WMP-AC can be assigned to the hydrogen bonding, electrostatic attraction, and π-π stacking. The findings of this study indicate that WMP is a promising precursor for producing porous activated carbon for MB dye removal.
Biochar has received great attention recently due to its potential to improve soil fertility and immobilize contaminants as well as serving as a way of carbon sequestration and therefore a possible carbon sink. In this work, a series of biochars were produced from empty fruit bunch (EFB) and rice husk (RH) by slow pyrolysis at different temperatures (350, 500, and 650°C) and their physicochemical properties were analysed. The results indicate that porosity, ash content, electrical conductivity (EC), and pH value of both EFB and RH biochars were increased with temperature; however, yield, cation exchange capacity (CEC), and H, C, and N content were decreased with increasing pyrolysis temperature. The Fourier transform IR spectra were similar for both RH and EFB biochars but the functional groups were more distinct in the EFB biochar spectra. There were reductions in the amount of functional groups as pyrolysis temperature increased especially for the EFB biochar. However, total acidity of the functional groups increased with pyrolysis temperature for both biochars.
To enhance the potential of activated carbon (AC), iron incorporation into the AC surface was examined in the present investigations. Iron doped activated carbon (FeAC) material was synthesized and characterized by using surface area analysis, energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), temperature programmed reduction (TPR) and temperature programmed desorption (TPD). The surface area of FeAC (543 m(2)/g) was found to be lower than AC (1043 m(2)/g) as a result of the pores widening due to diffusion of iron particles into the porous AC. Iron uploading on AC surface was confirmed through EDX analysis, showing up to 13.75 wt.% iron on FeAC surface. TPR and TPD profiles revealed the presence of more active sites on FeAC surface. FeAC have shown up to 98% methylene blue (MB) removal from the aqueous media. Thermodynamic parameters indicated the spontaneous and exothermic nature of the sorption processes.
Activated carbons are regularly used the treatment of dye wastewater. They can be produced from various organics materials having high level of carbon content. In this study, a novel Pinang frond activated carbon (PFAC) was produced at various CO₂ flow rates in the range of 150-600 mL/min at activation temperature of 800°C for 3 hours. The optimum PFAC sample is found on CO₂ flow rate of 300 mL/min which gives the highest BET surface area and pore volume of 958 m²/g and 0.5469 mL/g, respectively. This sample shows well-developed pore structure with high fixed carbon content of 79.74%. The removal of methylene blue (MB) by 95.8% for initial MB concentration of 50 mg/L and 72.6% for 500 mg/L is achieved via this sample. The PFAC is thus identified to be a suitable adsorbent for removing MB from aqueous solution.
It was found that with replenishment, powdered activated carbon (PAC) in the membrane bioreactor (MBR) would develop biologically activated carbon (BAC) which could enhance filtration performance of a conventional MBR. This paper addresses two issues (i) effect of PAC size on MBR (BAC) performance; and (ii) effect of sludge retention time (SRT) on the MBR performance with and without PAC. To interpret the trends, particle/floc size, concentration of mixed liquor suspended solid (MLSS), total organic carbon (TOC), short-term filtration properties and transmembrane pressure (TMP) versus time are measured. The results showed improved fouling control with fine, rather than coarse, PAC provided the flux did not exceed the deposition flux for the fine PAC. Without PAC, the longer SRT operation gave lower fouling at modest fluxes. With PAC addition, the shorter SRT gave better fouling control, possibly due to greater replenishment of the fresh PAC.
A lab-scale granular activated carbon sequencing batch biofilm reactor (GAC-SBBR), a combined adsorption and biological process, was developed to treat real wastewater from a recycled paper mill. In this study, one-consortia of mixed culture (4000-5000 mg/L) originating from recycled paper mill activated sludge from Kajang, Malaysia was acclimatized. The GAC-SBBR was fed with real wastewater taken from the same recycled paper mill, which had a high concentration of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and adsorbable organic halides (AOX). The operational duration of the GAC-SBBR was adjusted from 48 h to 24, 12 and finally 8 h to evaluate the effect of the hydraulic retention time (HRT) on the simultaneous removal of COD and AOX. The COD and AOX removals were in the range of 53-92% and 26-99%, respectively. From this study, it was observed that the longest HRT (48 h) yielded a high removal of COD and AOX, at 92% and 99%, respectively.
In this study, methyl ester (ME) was produced by transesterification of palm oil (CPO) (cooking grade) using activated carbon supported calcium oxide as a solid base catalyst (CaO/AC). Response surface methodology (RSM) based on central composite design (CCD) was used to optimize the effect of reaction time, molar ratio of methanol to oil, reaction temperature and catalyst amount on the transesterification process. The optimum condition for CPO transesterification to methyl ester was obtained at 5.5 wt.% catalyst amount, 190°C temperature, 15:1 methanol to oil molar ratio and 1 h 21 min reaction time. At the optimum condition, the ME content was 80.98%, which is well within the predicted value of the model. Catalyst regeneration studies indicate that the catalyst performance is sustained after two cycles.
This work examines the impregnated carbon-based sorbents for simultaneous removal of SO(2) and NOx from simulated flue gas. The carbon-based sorbents were prepared using palm shell activated carbon (PSAC) impregnated with several metal oxides (Ni, V, Fe and Ce). The removal of SO(2) and NOx from the simulated flue gas was investigated in a fixed-bed reactor. The results showed that PSAC impregnated with CeO(2) (PSAC-Ce) reported the highest sorption capacity among other impregnated metal oxides for the simultaneous removal of SO(2) and NOx. PSAC-Ce showed the longest breakthrough time of 165 and 115 min for SO(2) and NOx, respectively. The properties of the pure and impregnated PSAC were analyzed by BET, FTIR and XRF. The physical-chemical features of the PSAC-Ce sorbent indicated a catalytic activity in both the sorption of SO(2) and NOx. The formation of both sulfate (SO(4)(2-)) and nitrate (NO(3-)) species on spent PSAC-Ce further prove the catalytic role played by CeO(2).
Stepping into the new globalizes and paradigm shifted era, a huge revolution has been undergone by the electrochemical industry. From a humble candidate of the superconductor resources, today electrosorption has demonstrated its wide variety of usefulness, almost in every part of the environmental conservation. With the renaissance of activated carbon (AC), there has been a steadily growing interest in this research field. The paper presents a state of art review of electrosorption technology, its background studies, fundamental chemistry and working principles. Moreover, recent development of the activated carbon assisted electrosorption process, its major challenges together with the future expectation are summarized and discussed. Conclusively, the expanding of electrosorption in the field of adsorption science represents a potentially viable and powerful tool, leading to the superior improvement of pollution control and environmental preservation.