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Influence of biochar thermal regeneration on sulfamethoxazole and dissolved organic matter adsorption

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Abstract

Biochar is emerging as a cost-effective, environmentally-sustainable adsorbent for removing organic contaminants (OC) from wastewater, stormwater, and drinking water, but strategies for managing exhausted biochar are needed. Here, pine biochar generated at 850 °C was exhausted by background dissolved organic matter isolated from surface water [dissolved organic carbon ∼4.2 mg L−1, UV-absorbance at 254 nm (UVA254) ∼0.10 cm−1] and sulfamethoxazole (SMX) [∼200 ng L−1], in a column. Exhausted biochar underwent a semi-oxic-thermal-regeneration step at 600 °C (i.e., heat treatment). SMX and UVA254 adsorption capacity and breakthrough were evaluated in rapid small-scale column tests (RSSCTs). Relative to fresh biochar, heat treated biochar that had been exhausted exhibited ∼3.5-fold and ∼3-fold greater SMX and UVA254 adsorption capacities, respectively, and ∼3-fold increase in adsorption efficiency (i.e., mass loss-adjusted SMX adsorption capacity). When applying the heat treatment to fresh biochar, a similar improvement in adsorption capacity was observed. Adsorption capacity and BET surface area were positively correlated and continued to increase after a second exhaustion–regeneration cycle, but the adsorption efficiency remained the same due to mass loss. SMX breakthrough correlated with that of UVA254, which provides the basis for a rapid, inexpensive method to predict OC breakthrough. Heat-treated biochar's SMX adsorption capacity was ∼20% of activated carbon's. Greater empty-bed-contact times increased the SMX adsorption capacity of heat-treated biochar. These results suggest that thermal regeneration could enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of biochar sorbents.

Graphical abstract: Influence of biochar thermal regeneration on sulfamethoxazole and dissolved organic matter adsorption

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Publication details

The article was received on 21 Sep 2017, accepted on 22 Nov 2017 and first published on 22 Nov 2017


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C7EW00379J
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2018, Advance Article
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    Influence of biochar thermal regeneration on sulfamethoxazole and dissolved organic matter adsorption

    B. G. Greiner, K. K. Shimabuku and R. S. Summers, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7EW00379J

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