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Dias, D, Bernardo M, Matos I, Fonseca I, Pinto F, Lapa N.  2020.  Activation of co-pyrolysis chars from rice wastes to improve the removal of Cr3+ from simulated and real industrial wastewaters. Journal of Cleaner Production. 267:121993. AbstractWebsite

Chromium is one of the most important raw materials for the European Union. Adsorption has become an important process for the recovery of metals from wastewaters, which has led to a demand for low-cost and eco-friendly adsorbents. The objective of this work was to use new and renewable carbon-based adsorbents from rice wastes in the removal/recovery of Cr(III) from synthetic and real wastewaters. Rice wastes were submitted to co-pyrolysis and the resulting char was optimized through physical and/or chemical activations/treatments. A commercial activated carbon was used for comparison purposes. All adsorbents were characterized (including an ecotoxicity test for the char precursor) and submitted to Cr(III) removal assays from a synthetic solution, in which two solid/liquid ratios (S/L) were tested (5 and 10 g/L). The CO2 activated carbon at a S/L = 5 g/L was the biomass-derived adsorbent that performed better, obtaining a maximum Cr(III) uptake capacity of 9.23 mg/g comparable to the one obtained by the commercial adsorbent at the same S/L (9.80 mg/g). The good results on this biomass-derived carbon were due to the effective volatile matter removal during the activation (from 22.7 to 4.25% w/w), which increased both surface area (from <5.0 to 325 m2/g) and ash content (from 30.0 to 40.4% w/w), allowing an increase in Cr(III) removal due to ion exchange mechanism and porosity development. The best adsorbent, under optimized conditions, was also applied to a chromium rich industrial wastewater. The results obtained in this real case application demonstrated a competition effect due to the presence of other ions.

Dias, D, Lapa N, Bernardo M, Godinho D, Fonseca I, Miranda M, Pinto F, Lemos F.  2017.  Properties of chars from the gasification and pyrolysis of rice waste streams towards their valorisation as adsorbent materials. Waste Management. 65:186-194. AbstractWebsite

Rice straw (RS), rice husk (RH) and polyethylene (PE) were blended and submitted to gasification and pyrolysis processes. The chars obtained were submitted to textural, chemical, and ecotoxic characterisations, towards their possible valorisation. Gasification chars were mainly composed of ashes (73.4–89.8wt%), while pyrolysis chars were mainly composed of carbon (53.0–57.6wt%). Silicon (Si) was the major mineral element in all chars followed by alkaline and alkaline-earth metal species (AAEMs). In the pyrolysis chars, titanium (Ti) was also a major element, as the feedstock blends contained high fractions of PE which was the main source of Ti. Gasification chars showed higher surface areas (26.9–62.9m2g−1) and some microporosity, attributed to porous silica. On the contrary, pyrolysis chars did not present a porous matrix, mainly due to their high volatile matter content. The gasification bed char produced with 100% RH, at 850°C, with O2 as gasification agent, was selected for further characterization. This char presented the higher potential to be valorised as adsorbent material (higher surface area, higher content of metal cations with exchangeable capacity, and lowest concentrations of toxic heavy metals). The char was submitted to an aqueous leaching test to assess the mobility of chemical species and the ecotoxic level for V. fischeri. It was observed that metallic elements were significantly retained in the char, which was attributed mainly to its alkaline character. This alkaline condition promoted some ecotoxicity level on the char eluate that was eliminated after the pH correction.

Dias, D, Lapa N, Bernardo M, Ribeiro W, Matos I, Fonseca I, Pinto F.  2018.  Cr(III) removal from synthetic and industrial wastewaters by using co-gasification chars of rice waste streams. Bioresource Technology. 266:139-150. AbstractWebsite

Blends of rice waste streams were submitted to co-gasification assays. The resulting chars (G1C and G2C) were characterized and used in Cr(III) removal assays from a synthetic solution. A Commercial Activated Carbon (CAC) was used for comparison purposes. The chars were non-porous materials mainly composed by ashes (68.3–92.6% w/w). The influences of adsorbent loading (solid/liquid ratio – S/L) and initial pH in Cr(III) removal were tested. G2C at a S/L of 5 mg L−1 and an initial pH of 4.50 presented an uptake capacity significantly higher than CAC (7.29 and 2.59 mg g−1, respectively). G2C was used in Cr(III) removal assays from an industrial wastewater with Cr(III) concentrations of 50, 100 and 200 mg L−1. Cr(III) removal by precipitation (uptake capacity ranging from 11.1 to 14.9 mg g−1) was more effective in G2C, while adsorption (uptake capacity of 16.1 mg g−1) was the main removal mechanism in CAC.

Dias, D, Bernardo M, Lapa N, Pinto F, Matos I, Fonseca I.  2018.  Activated carbons from the Co-pyrolysis of rice wastes for Cr(III) removal. Chemical Engineering Transactions. 65:601-606.