Comparison of two carbonaceous supported Fe-rich adsorbents for arsenate removal: A functionalisation and mechanistic study with applicability to groundwater treatment

Sabolc Pap, Maja Turk sekulic, Hai nguyen Tran, Huan-Ping Chao, Peter j. Gilbert, Stuart w. Gibb, Mark a. Taggart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The presence of arsenic in groundwater, and through this in drinking water, has been shown to present a serious risk to public health in many regions of the world. In this study, two iron-rich carbonous adsorbents were compared for the removal of arsenate (As(V)) from groundwater. Biochars (FeO-biochar and FeO-pyrochar) derived from biomass waste were functionalised in two different ways with iron chloride for comparation. Batch and dynamic parameters were optimised to achieve >99% As(V) removal efficiency. Experimental data best described by the pseudo-second order kinetic model, while multi-stage diffusion appeared to limit mass transfer of As(V). Among the isotherm models evaluated, the Freundlich model best described the experimental results with high correlation coefficients (R2≥0.94) for both adsorbents. Monolayer adsorption capacities were found to be 4.34 mg/g and 8.66 mg/g for FeO-biochar and FeO-pyrochar, respectively. Batch studies followed by instrumental characterisation of the materials indicated the removal mechanisms involved to be electrostatic interactions (outer-sphere), OH- ligand exchange (inner-sphere complexation) and hydrogen bonding with functional groups. Higher pHpzc (9.1), SBET (167.2 m2/g), iron/elemental content and functionalisation technique (e.g., functionalisation of biochar after pyrolysis instead of biomass) for FeO-pyrochar, compared with FeO-biochar, suggested that both the surface chemistry and porosity/surface were important in adsorption. Dynamic studies showed FeO-pyrochar can be used to remove As(V) from groundwater even at low ‘environmental’ concentrations to legislative limit (<10 μg/L), where 7 g of FeO-pyrochar was able to treat 5.4 L groundwater.
Original languageEnglish
Article number142205
JournalChemosphere
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2024

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