Production and characterisation of activated carbon and carbon nanotubes from potato peel waste and their application in heavy metal removal

Ahmed Ibrahim Osman Ahmed*, Jacob Blewitt , Jehad Abu-Dahrieh, Charles Farrell, Ala Muhtaseb, John Harrison, David Rooney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
264 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Herein activated carbon (AC) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were synthesized from potato peel waste (PPW). Different ACs were synthesized via two activation steps; firstly, with phosphoric acid (designated PP) and then using potassium hydroxide (designated PK). The AC produced after the two activation steps showed a surface area as high as 833 m2.g-1 with a pore volume of 0.44 cm3.g-1, where the raw material of PPW showed a surface area < 4 m2.g-1. This can help aid and facilitate the concept of the circular economy by effectively up-cycling and valorizing waste lignocellulosic biomass such as potato peel waste to high surface area AC and subsequently, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). Consequently, MWCNTs were prepared from the produced AC by mixing it with the nitrogen-based material melamine and iron precursor, iron (III) oxalate hexahydrate. This produced hydrophilic multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with a water contact angle of θ = 14.97º. Both AC and CNT materials were used in heavy metal removal (HMR) where the maximum lead absorption was observed for sample PK with 84% removal capacity after the first hour of testing. This result signifies that the synthesis of these up-cycled materials can have application in areas such as wastewater treatment or other conventional AC/CNT end uses with a rapid cycle time. In a two-fold approach to improving the eco-friendliness synthesis of such value-added products and the circular economy from a significant waste stream, i.e. PPW.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Early online date20 Nov 2019
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online date - 20 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • Potato peel waste
  • Activated carbon
  • Carbon nanotube
  • multi-wall carbon nanotubes
  • pyrolysis

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