Preparation of ultrahigh-surface-area sludge biopolymers-based carbon using alkali treatment for organic matters recovery coupled to catalytic pyrolysis

Dongsheng Wang , Yu Zhang , Jiayi Tang , Weijun Zhang , Jing Ai , Yanyang Liu , Qiandi Wang


Received December 04, 2020,Revised , Accepted January 16, 2021, Available online January 28, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 83-96

In this work, we employed waste activated sludge (WAS) as carbon source to prepare ultrahigh specific surface area (SSA) biopolymers-based carbons (BBCs) through alkali (KOH) treatment coupled to pyrolysis strategy. Before the pyrolysis process, the involvement of KOH made a great recovery of soluble biopolymers from WAS, resulting in highly-efficient catalytic pyrolysis. The Brunner-Emmett-Teller and pore volume of BBCs prepared at 800°C (BBC800) reached the maximum at 2633.89 m2·g−1 and 2.919 m3·g−1, respectively. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy suggested that aromatic carbon in the form of C=C was the dominant fraction of C element in BBCs. The N element in BBCs were composed of pyrrolic nitrogen and pyridinic nitrogen at 700°C, while a new graphitic nitrogen appeared over 800°C. As a refractory pollutant of wastewater treatment plants, tetracycline (TC) was selected to evaluate adsorption performance of BBCs. The adsorption behavior of BBCs towards TC was conformed to the pseudo-second-order kinetic and the Langmuir models, signifying that chemisorption of monolayers was dominant in TC adsorption. The adsorption capacity of BBC800 reached the maximum at 877.19 mg·g−1 for 90 min at 298 K. Thermodynamic analysis indicated that the adsorption process was endothermic and spontaneous. Hydrogen bonding and π-π stacking interaction were mainly responsible for TC adsorption, and interfacial diffusion was the main rate-control step in adsorption process. The presence of soluble microbial products (SMPs) enhanced TC removal. This work provided a novel strategy to prepare bio-carbon with ultrahigh SSA using WAS for highly-efficient removal of organic pollutants.

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