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J Environ Manage. 2013 Mar 30;118:196-204. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.01.001. Epub 2013 Feb 24.

Heavy metal and phenol adsorptive properties of biochars from pyrolyzed switchgrass and woody biomass in correlation with surface properties.

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College of Material Science and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 10083, China.


In this work, the surface structures of biochars, derived from three types of biomass, switchgrass (SG), hardwood (HW) and softwood (SW) through either fast pyrolysis (FP) in a fluidized-bed reactor (at 500 °C) or slow pyrolysis (at 500° and 700 °C), were studied in detail, and compared with that of the activated carbons obtained by steam activation of the slow pyrolyzed biochars (at 500 °C). The surface acidic functional groups were determined quantitatively by the Boehm Titration method. The adsorptive properties of heavy metals, Zn(2+) and Cu(2+) onto the biochars and the activated carbons were investigated by the adsorption isotherms and SEM images, and correlated with the surface properties. ATR-FTIR and GC techniques were used to analyze the adsorptive behavior of phenol onto the biochars and activated carbons, and the results demonstrated that phenol adsorption capability is directly proportional to the micropore surface area as well as the combined level of the accessible carboxylic and lactonic groups. The relative adsorption capacity with respect to the biomass precursor follows the order: SW > HW > SG.

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