291865 Potential Use of Bio-Char As Alternative, Inexpensive Sorbent

Monday, October 29, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Indrek Kulaots and Omar Nema, Chemical Engineering, Brown University, Providence, RI

Potential Use of Bio-char as Alternative, Inexpensive Sorbent

Authors: Omar Nema, Indrek Kulaots

Amidst an ever-increasing need for fuel, and worldwide environmental negligence, bio-waste has emerged as a potential means of ameliorating the rampant cost of industrial production. Bio-waste has previously been proven effective in sorbing organic contaminants. This research evaluates the capacity of bio-waste to sorb elemental Mercury—a harmful EPA-rated pollutant.  Samples were first characterized by testing pore size distribution and carbon content after carbonization. Following a treatment process, Mercury sorption capacity was tested for both treated and untreated forms of each sample. Wheat straw, rye straw and bagasse bio-waste samples produced a Mercury adsorption of over 1000 micro/gram without any activation. In comparison, Activated Carbon, a much more abundant, but expensive sorbent, has shown adsorption capacity of the same magnitude. These results could yield an inexpensive and effective sorbent material for industrial plants, while also avoiding the problem of bio-waste landfill contamination. Further experimentation would entail testing the viability of other biochar samples and pollutants.

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