Low cost, green absorbents and their role in wastewater treatment

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The reclamation for recycled water has fast gained into prominence mainly on account of the demand for fresh water and rising health concerns on the adverse effect of increasing pollutant contamination. The adsorption technology is considered ideal in the treatment of wastewaters on account of its non-specificity towards the pollutant irrespective of their diverse nature. No doubt the technology has distinct advantages over other technologies in respect of its environmental friendliness. But high costs of the commercial activated carbons are a major deterrent to their widespread use.

In this respect low cost activated carbons can be prepared from a timber industry waste-sawdust via chemical activation. The performance of the activated carbons can be enhanced via improvements in their surface properties by optimal selection of the activation parameters. The use of lower temperatures and time during chemical activation can ensure significant reduction of energy consumption and improved yields.

Research carried out with this hypothesis at IRIS, Spain demonstrates the role of different activation conditions on the physico-chemical characteristics and finally on the adsorption potential of the developed activated carbons. The results reveal the potentiality of chemical activation so as to achieve the best physico-chemical properties suited for energy efficient, economical and eco-friendly water treatment. The study also establishes the conditions required for the development of a more economic, heterogeneous activated carbon and which was subsequently found desirable for maximising the separation of metal ion adsorbates from aqueous streams.

IRIS, Spain has recently published the results of this research ¨Chemically activated carbon from lignocellulosic wastes for heavy metal wastewater remediation: effect of activation conditions¨ in Elsevier´s Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 493(2017) 228-240

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PhD Arunima Nayak
Marie Curie Researcher
PhD in Environmental Chemistry

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