Removal of pollutants from aqueous product of Co-hydrothermal liquefaction: Adsorption and isotherm studies

Oluwayinka M. Adedeji, Kauser Jahan

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20 Scopus citations


Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) is an attractive technology for the conversion of wet waste into biofuel and co-HTL has been touted to increase the quality of products. However, the recovery of energy from wastewater byproduct called aqueous co-product (ACP) is limited due to the presence of toxic inhibitory substances. Adsorption has been countenanced to remove these toxic compounds but there has not been a distinct comprehensive adsorption isotherm study to explain the interaction between the adsorbate molecules and the adsorbent sites. This study investigated the sorption mechanism of oxidizable reducing pollutants measured as chemical oxygen demand (COD); heavy metals (boron and copper); and phenols from ACP samples obtained from co-HTL of brewery trub (BT), and primary sludge (PS) onto granular and powdered activated carbon (GAC and PAC). Conventional isotherm models such as Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin, and Dubinin-Radushkevich were used for data analysis. Results indicated that the adsorptive capacity (qe) of PAC was greater than GAC in COD adsorption (BT−1947 > 234; BTPS−617 > 245; PS−289 > 207), boron adsorption (BTPS−70 > 7; PS−53 > 49), copper adsorption (BT−5 > 1; BTPS−3 > 2; PS−1.3 > 1.1) and phenol adsorption (BT−1340 > 356; BTPS−1587 > 253; PS−460 > 245) in mg/g, μg/g, μg/g, and μg/g respectively. Comparing the adsorption of pollutants onto PAC and GAC, this study observed that PAC followed the Temkin, and Dubinin-Radushkevich models in the adsorption of the four pollutants while GAC followed the Freundlich and Langmuir models in the adsorption of phenol and copper, and Temkin, and Dubinin-Radushkevich in the adsorption of COD and boron. This study proved that combining feedstock in HTL (co-HTL) does not only change the quality of the ACP but also changes the dynamics of the adsorption isotherms. The Free Energy Change (ΔG0) result showed a spontaneous reaction in the adsorption of copper and phenol. This study presents an adsorption equilibrium information for the interpretation of adsorption isotherms for the overall improvement of adsorption mechanism pathways and the effective design of adsorption systems for the treatment of ACP.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138165
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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