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Enhanced sulfamethazine removal by steam-activated invasive plant-derived biochar

TitleEnhanced sulfamethazine removal by steam-activated invasive plant-derived biochar
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsRajapaksha, Anushka Upamali, Vithanage Meththika, Ahmad Mahtab, Seo Dong-Cheol, Cho Ju-Sik, Lee Sung-Eun, Lee Sang Soo, and Ok Yong Sik
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Pagination43 - 50
Date Published06/2015

Recent investigations have shown frequent detection of pharmaceuticals in soils and waters posing potential risks to human and ecological health. Here, we report the enhanced removal of sulfamethazine (SMT) from water by physically activated biochar. Specifically, we investigated the effects of steam-activated biochars synthesized from an invasive plant (Sicyos angulatus L.) on the sorption of SMT in water. The properties and sorption capacities of steam-activated biochars were compared with those of conventional non-activated slow pyrolyzed biochars. Sorption exhibited pronounced pH dependence, which was consistent with SMT speciation and biochar charge properties. A linear relationship was observed between sorption parameters and biochar properties such as molar elemental ratios, surface area, and pore volumes. The isotherms data were well described by the Freundlich and Temkin models suggesting favorable chemisorption processes and electrostatic interactions between SMT and biochar. The steam-activated biochar produced at 700 °C showed the highest sorption capacity (37.7 m g g−1) at pH 3, with a 55% increase in sorption capacity compared to that of non-activated biochar produced at the same temperature. Therefore, steam activation could potentially enhance the sorption capacities of biochars compared to conventional pyrolysis.

Short TitleJournal of Hazardous Materials