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Reusable and inductively regenerable magnetic activated carbon for removal of organic micropollutants from secondary wastewater effluents.

Water Research 2024 March 27
This work introduces a new sustainable alternative of powdered activated carbon (PAC) - magnetically harvestable and reusable after regeneration via inductive heating - for the adsorptive removal of organic micropollutants (OMP) from secondary wastewater effluents. For this purpose, two commercial PACs - lignite "L" (1187 m2 /g) and coconut "C"-based (1524 m2 /g) - were modified with magnetic iron oxide following two different synthesis approaches: infiltration ("infiltr") and surface deposition ("depos") route. The resulting magnetic powdered activated carbons (mPAC) and their precursor PACs were fully characterized before application. The iron oxide content of the modified "L" and "C" samples was ∼30 % and ∼20 %, respectively. Iron oxide gives the PAC beneficial magnetic properties for easy magnetic separation and simultaneously acts as an inductively heatable agent for the carbon regeneration. The infiltrated samples displayed better inductive heating performance and regeneration than their deposited counterparts. Tests with real wastewater showed fast adsorption kinetics of the organic load following the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. Adsorption isotherms were compliant with the Freundlich isotherm model. Sample "L-infiltr" had the best overall adsorption performance throughout 5 reuse cycles when intermediately inductively regenerated (<3 % drop in organics removal per cycle with intermediate regeneration vs. ∼10 % drop per cycle without regeneration). The treated supernatant was additionally tested for 31 representative organic micropollutants and their transformation products (pharmaceuticals, personal care products, industrial chemicals, etc.), where 26 OMPs had consistently high removal (>85 %) throughout 5 cycles with intermediate regeneration and for 28 OMPs the total adsorption efficiency dropped by <5 % after 5 cycles.

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