Abstract

Activated carbons from Brazil nutshells were produced by ZnCl2-activation at different biomass: ZnCl2 ratios of 1.0:1.0 and 1.0:1.5 at 600 °C and the samples were denominated as BNS1.0 and BNS1.5, respectively. The obtained activated carbons were used in the adsorption of acetaminophen (paracetamol) and for the treatment of synthetic hospital effluents. Several analytical techniques were used to characterize the activated carbons. The N2 isotherms presented the SBET values of the BNS1.0 and BNS1.5 are very high, 1457 and 1640 m2 g−1, respectively. The FTIR and Boehm titration analysis demonstrated the presence of several surface functional groups on both ACs surfaces, which can influence the acetaminophen adsorption. The adsorption studies revealed that the maximum adsorption capacities (Qmax) are very high for both ACs; however, the BNS1.5 capacity is higher (411.0 mg g−1) than that of BNS1.0 (309.7 mg g−1). The thermodynamic assessments revealed that the process of acetaminophen adsorption is spontaneous, energetically favorable, and exothermic, and the magnitude of enthalpy is compatible with physisorption. Besides, it suggests that the acetaminophen adsorption on both ACs is dominated by van der Walls forces and microporous filling mechanism. The use of activated carbons for treatment of synthetic hospital effluents, containing different pharmaceuticals as well as organics and inorganic salts, presented a high percentage of removal (up to 98.83%). The adsorbent was magnificently regenerated up to 74% with a mixture of 0.1 mol L−1 NaOH + 20% EtOH solution and can be reused up to four cycles ensuring sustainable use of proposed adsorbent for acetaminophen removal from aqueous media. In the light of these results, it is possible to say that Brazil nutshell is an excellent raw material to prepare efficient ACs which can be successfully used in the treatment of real hospital effluents.**

Keywords

Brazil nutshells, Acetaminophen, Carbon adsorbents, Adsorption, Synthetic hospital effluents

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