Efficacy of Low-cost Activated Carbon in the Removal of Active Compounds in Pharmaceutical Industrial Wastewater

Opololaoluwa Oladimarun Ijaola


Pharmaceutical wastes are emerging organic contaminants, mostly unregulated and on the increase. This study evaluates the potential of low-cost activated carbons derived from bamboo in remediating Pharmaceutical actives contaminants (PhACs) and compared with Oclansorb. Two species of bamboos were processed into activated carbons using ZnCl2, KCl, and H3PO4. Selections of the bamboo adsorbents were based on porosity and surface area using BET analysis. Batch adsorption process was used with contact time as bench mark for comparison. Carbonized Bambusa vulgaris (CBV350OC H3PO4) has the highest surface area (SPAS) of 30.1342 m2/g when compared to other adsorbents while carbonized Oxythenantera abyssinica  (COA 350OC KCl) gave the highest pore size (AAPW) 446.4384(Å). CBV (350OC H3PO4) gave type IV isotherm classification which favors mono and multilayer adsorption as compared to others adsorbents that obeys the type III isotherm classification. COA with KCl activation showed the highest removal efficiency for PhACs (73.3%, paracetamol, 78.1% salbutamol and 86.2% chlorpheniramine), followed by CBA H3PO4 (63.9% paracetamol, 66.7% salbutamol and 82.2% chlorpheniramine), and SAC (18.5% paracetamol, 34.3% salbutamol and 51.02% chlorpheniramine). The experimental study showed that adsorptions of PhACs were inconsistent with time but equilibrium was attained at 720min while 30min was the optimal time.


Pharmaceutical actives contaminants; Adsorbent; Carbonized Bambusa vulgaris; carbonized Oxythenantera abyssinica; Industrial Wastewater

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