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Bioresour Technol. 2007 Sep;98(12):2301-12. Epub 2006 Oct 19.

Lignin--from natural adsorbent to activated carbon: a review.

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  • 1Centro de Química de Evora and Departmento de Quimica, Universidade de Evora, Colégio Luís António Verney, 7000-671 Evora, Portugal.


The present review compiles the work done over the last few decades on the use of lignin and lignin-based chars and activated carbons as adsorbents for the removal of substances from water and focuses on the utilisation of lignin as adsorbent, its conversion to chars and activated carbons and the use of these materials as adsorbents. Moreover, the review also examines the textural and surface chemical properties of lignin-based activated carbons. The work so far carried out indicates that lignin is relatively non-reactive and probably the component of lignocellulosic precursors primarily responsible for the microporosity of activated carbons. Under appropriate conditions of activation it is possible to obtain materials with surface areas and pore volumes approaching 2000 m(2)g(-1) and 1cm(3)g(-1), respectively, and these materials have capacities for the aqueous phase adsorption of metallic pollutants that are comparable to those of commercial activated carbons. Relatively little work has so far been published and there is considerable scope for more detailed studies on the preparation, characterisation and adsorption applications of lignin-based activated carbons.

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