Preparation and Characterization of Pulp and Paper Mill Sludge-Activated Biochars Using Alkaline Activation: A Box-Behnken Design Approach

ACS Omega. 2022 Sep 2;7(36):32620-32630. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c04290. eCollection 2022 Sep 13.


This study utilized pulp and paper mill sludge as a carbon source to produce activated biochar adsorbents. The response surface methodology (RSM) application for predicting and optimizing the activated biochar preparation conditions was investigated. Biochars were prepared based on a Box-Behnken design (BBD) approach with three independent factors (i.e., pyrolysis temperature, holding time, and KOH:biomass ratio), and the responses evaluated were specific surface area (SSA), micropore area (S micro), and mesopore area (S meso). According to the RSM and BBD analysis, a pyrolysis temperature of 800 °C for 3 h of holding and an impregnation ratio of 1:1 (biomass:KOH) are the optimum conditions for obtaining the highest SSA (885 m2 g-1). Maximized S micro was reached at 800 °C, 1 h and the ratio of 1:1, and for maximizing S meso (569.16 m2 g-1), 800 °C, 2 h and ratio 1:1.5 (445-473 m2 g-1) were employed. The biochars presented different micro- and mesoporosity characteristics depending on pyrolysis conditions. Elemental analysis showed that biochars exhibited high carbon and oxygen content. Raman analysis indicated that all biochars had disordered carbon structures with structural defects, which can boost their properties, e.g., by improving their adsorption performances. The hydrophobicity-hydrophilicity experiments showed very hydrophobic biochar surfaces. The biochars were used as adsorbents for diclofenac and amoxicillin. They presented very high adsorption performances, which could be explained by the pore filling, hydrophobic surface, and π-π electron-donor-acceptor interactions between aromatic rings of both adsorbent and adsorbate. The biochar with the highest surface area (and highest uptake performance) was subjected to regeneration tests, showing that it can be reused multiple times.

PMID:36119983 | PMC:PMC9476204 | DOI:10.1021/acsomega.2c04290


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