Application of waste materials as potential biosorbents for Cu(II) and Zn(II) removal

M. Holub, M. Balintova, S. Demcak, P. Pavlikova


Mining is probably the most common activity that fundamentally impacts the country. The problems connected with the extraction of sulphide ores arise especially during the final stage of mining, closure and abandonment of the extraction area, when the conditions for the generation of strong acid water are most likely to occur.

With respect to the diversity of compounds in acid mine drainage (AMD) and its low pH values it is hard to find an effective and inexpensive “active” treatment process. Recently, numerous approaches have been studied for the development of cheaper and more effective technologies, both to decrease the amount of heavy metals and to improve the quality of the treated effluent. Adsorption has become one of the alternative treatments; in the recent years, the search for low-cost adsorbents that have metal-binding capacities has intensified.

Adsorption of heavy metals (Cu and Zn) from single-component aqueous solutions onto non-modified poplar sawdust, hemp shives and peat has been studied using the batch-adsorption techniques. For this purpose, solutions with different concentrations ranging from 10 to 150 mg/L have been used. The study was carried out to examine the adsorption capacity of the low-cost waste materials as potential biosorbents for the removal of heavy metals from acid mine drainage. The adsorption isotherms could be better fitted by the Langmuir model (values of the correlation factor range from 0.974 to 0.997). The values of the separation factor (RL) in the present study were found to be within 0.037–0.728, indicating the favorable adsorption process. From the comparison of maximum sorption capacities, it is evident that the best adsorption properties are exhibited by the hemp shives, and copper is overall better adsorbed than zinc (Qmax = 12.84 mg/g and 8.28 mg/g for copper and zinc, respectively). The results indicate that these freely abundant, low-cost waste materials can be treated as economically viable for the removal of metal ions in acidic conditions.



peat, hemp, sawdust, biosorption, acidic conditions

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Print ISSN: 1392-1231
Online ISSN: 2029-719X