JoVE Logo
Faculty Resource Center

Sign In





Representative Results






Preparation of Biomass-based Mesoporous Carbon with Higher Nitrogen-/Oxygen-chelating Adsorption for Cu(II) Through Microwave Pre-Pyrolysis

Published: February 12th, 2019



1College of Engineering, Nanjing Agricultural University

Here, we present a protocol to synthesize nitrogen/oxygen dual-doped mesoporous carbon from biomass by chemical activation in different pyrolysis modes followed by modification. We demonstrate that the microwave pyrolysis benefits the subsequent modification process to simultaneously introduce more nitrogen and oxygen functional groups on the carbon.

An environment-friendly technique for synthesizing biomass-based mesoporous activated carbon with high nitrogen-/oxygen-chelating adsorption for Cu(II) is proposed. Bagasse impregnated with phosphoric acid is utilized as the precursor. To pyrolyze the precursor, two separate heating modes are used: microwave pyrolysis and conventional electric-heating pyrolysis. The resulting bagasse-derived carbon samples are modified with nitrification and reduction modification. Nitrogen (N)/oxygen (O) functional groups are simultaneously introduced to the surface of activated carbon, enhancing its adsorption of Cu(II) by complexing and ion-exchange. Characterization and copper adsorption experiments are performed to investigate the physicochemical properties of four prepared carbon samples and determine which heating method favors the subsequent modification for doping of N/O functional groups. In this technique, based on analyzing data of nitrogen adsorption, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and batch adsorption experiments, it is proven that microwave-pyrolyzed carbon has more defect sites and, therefore, time-saving effective microwave pyrolysis contributes more N/O species to the carbon, although it leads to a lower specific surface area. This technique offers a promising route to synthesis adsorbents with higher nitrogen and oxygen content and a higher adsorption capacity of heavy-metal ions in wastewater remediation applications.

Activated carbon has unique adsorption properties, such as a developed porous structure, a high specific surface area, and various surface functional groups; therefore, it is employed as an adsorbent in water treatment or purification1,2,3,4. Besides its physical advantages, activated carbon is cost-effective and harmless to the environment, and its raw material (e.g., biomass) is abundant and easily obtained5,6. The physicochemical properties of activated carbon depend on t....

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

1. Preparation of Bagasse-based Activated Carbon

  1. Preparation of the precursor for bagasse-based activated carbon
    1. Rinse the bagasse (obtained from a farm in Jiangsu, China) with deionized water and put the samples in a drying oven at 100 °C for 10 h.
    2. Crush the dried bagasse with a grinder and sieve the powder through a 50-mesh sieve.
    3. Place 30 g of fine bagasse powder into a 15 wt% phosphoric acid (H3PO4) solution in a 1:1 weight.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Nitrogen adsorption/desorption isotherms of four samples are presented in Figure 1. All adsorption isotherms show a rapid increase in low P/P0 region and these isotherms belong to type IV (IUPAC classification) demonstrating their pore structure that consists of micropores and dominant mesopores32.

The surface physical parameters for all samples obtained from the n.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

In this protocol, one of the critical steps is the successful preparation of mesoporous carbon with better physicochemical properties by the one-step approach, where optimal experimental conditions need to be determined. So, in a previous study28, we have carried out orthogonal array microwave pyrolysis experiments, considering the effect of the impregnation ratio of bagasse and phosphoric acid, pyrolysis time, microwave oven power, and drying time. Besides, great care must be taken in tedious Cu(.......

Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

The authors acknowledge the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (No.KYZ201562), China Postdoctoral Science Fund (No. 2014M560429) and the Key research and development plan of Jiangsu Province (No. BE2018708).


Log in or to access full content. Learn more about your institution’s access to JoVE content here

Name Company Catalog Number Comments
All chemicals and reagents (phosphoric acid, etc.) Nanjing Chemical Reagent Co., Ltd Analytical grade
Electric furnace Luoyang Bolaimaite Experiment Electric Furnace Co., Ltd
Microwave oven Nanjing Yudian Automation Technology Co., Ltd 2.45 GHz frequency
Surface-area and porosimetry analyzer Beijing Gold APP Instrument Co., Ltd Vc-Sorb 2800TP
Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometer Nicolet 6700
Flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry Beijing Purkinje General Instrument Corporation A3
Element Analyzer Germany Heraeus Co. CHN-O-RAPID 

  1. Saleh, T. A., Gupta, V. K. Processing methods, characteristics and adsorption behavior of tire derived carbons: a review. Advances in Colloid & Interface Science. 211, 93 (2014).
  2. Mohammadi, N., Khani, H., Gupta, V. K., Amereh, E., Agarwal, S. Adsorption process of methyl orange dye onto mesoporous carbon material-kinetic and thermodynamic studies. Journal of Colloid & Interface Science. 362 (2), 457 (2011).
  3. Saleh, T. A., Gupta, V. K. Column with CNT/magnesium oxide composite for lead(II) removal from water. Environmental Science & Pollution Research. 19 (4), 1224-1228 (2012).
  4. Asfaram, A., Ghaedi, M., Agarwal, S., Tyagi, I., Kumargupta, V. Removal of basic dye Auramine-O by ZnS:Cu nanoparticles loaded on activated carbon: optimization of parameters using response surface methodology with central composite design. RSC Advances. 5 (24), 18438-18450 (2015).
  5. Gupta, V. K., Saleh, T. A. Sorption of pollutants by porous carbon, carbon nanotubes and fullerene- an overview. Environmental Science and Pollution Research. 20 (5), 2828-2843 (2013).
  6. Ahmaruzzaman, M., Gupta, V. K. Rice Husk and Its Ash as Low-Cost Adsorbents in Water and Wastewater Treatment. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. 50 (24), 13589-13613 (2011).
  7. Ahmed, M. J., Theydan, S. K. Adsorption of cephalexin onto activated carbons from Albizia lebbeck seed pods by microwave-induced KOH and K2CO3 activations. Chemical Engineering Journal. 211 (22), 200-207 (2012).
  8. Liew, R. K., et al. Production of activated carbon as catalyst support by microwave pyrolysis of palm kernel shell: a comparative study of chemical versus physical activation. Research on Chemical Intermediates. , 1-17 (2018).
  9. Lam, S. S., et al. Microwave-assisted pyrolysis with chemical activation, an innovative method to convert orange peel into activated carbon with improved properties as dye adsorbent. Journal of Cleaner Production. 162, 1376-1387 (2017).
  10. Jin, H., Wang, X., Gu, Z., Polin, J. Carbon materials from high ash biochar for supercapacitor and improvement of capacitance with HNO3 surface oxidation. Journal of Power Sources. 236, 285-292 (2013).
  11. Chen, H. Research Methods for the Biotechnology of Lignocellulose. Biotechnology of Lignocellulose: Theory and Practice. , 403-510 (2014).
  12. Sayğılı, H., Güzel, F. High surface area mesoporous activated carbon from tomato processing solid waste by zinc chloride activation: process optimization, characterization and dyes adsorption. Journal of Cleaner Production. 113, 995-1004 (2016).
  13. Cao, Q., Xie, K. C., Lv, Y. K., Bao, W. R. Process effects on activated carbon with large specific surface area from corn cob. Bioresource Technology. 97 (1), 110-115 (2006).
  14. Xiao, X., et al. Adsorption behavior of phenanthrene onto coal-based activated carbon prepared by microwave activation. Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering. 32 (6), 1129-1136 (2015).
  15. Ge, X., et al. Adsorption of naphthalene from aqueous solution on coal-based activated carbon modified by microwave induction: Microwave power effects. Chemical Engineering & Processing Process Intensification. 91, 67-77 (2015).
  16. Yao, S., et al. Removal of Pb(II) from water by the activated carbon modified by nitric acid under microwave heating. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 463, 118-127 (2016).
  17. Ali, A., Idris, R. Utilization Of Low-cost Activated Carbon From Rapid Synthesis Of Microwave Pyrolysis For WC Nanoparticles Preparation. Advanced Materials Letters. 08 (1), 70-76 (2016).
  18. Puchana-Rosero, M. J., et al. Microwave-assisted activated carbon obtained from the sludge of tannery-treatment effluent plant for removal of leather dyes. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 504, 105-115 (2016).
  19. Du, Z. L., Zheng, T., Wang, P., Hao, L. L., Wang, Y. X. Fast microwave-assisted preparation of a low-cost and recyclable carboxyl modified lignocellulose-biomass jute fiber for enhanced heavy metal removal from water. Bioresource Technology. 201, 41-49 (2016).
  20. Ge, X., et al. Microwave-assisted modification of activated carbon with ammonia for efficient pyrene adsorption. Journal of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 39, 27-36 (2016).
  21. Ghaedi, M., et al. Modeling of competitive ultrasonic assisted removal of the dyes - Methylene blue and Safranin-O using Fe3O4 nanoparticles. Chemical Engineering Journal. 268, 28-37 (2015).
  22. Gupta, V. K., Nayak, A. Cadmium removal and recovery from aqueous solutions by novel adsorbents prepared from orange peel and Fe2O3 nanoparticles. Chemical Engineering Journal. 180 (3), 81-90 (2012).
  23. Robati, D., et al. Removal of hazardous dyes-BR 12 and methyl orange using graphene oxide as an adsorbent from aqueous phase. Chemical Engineering Journal. 284 (7), 687-697 (2016).
  24. Ali, I., Alothman, Z. A., Sanagi, M. M. Green Synthesis of Iron Nano-Impregnated Adsorbent for Fast Removal of Fluoride from Water. Journal of Molecular Liquids. 211, 457-465 (2015).
  25. Gupta, V. K., Kumar, R., Nayak, A., Saleh, T. A., Barakat, M. A. Adsorptive removal of dyes from aqueous solution onto carbon nanotubes: A review. Advances in Colloid & Interface Science. 193 (6), 24 (2013).
  26. Mittal, A., Mittal, J., Malviya, A., Gupta, V. K. Adsorptive removal of hazardous anionic dye "Congo red" from wastewater using waste materials and recovery by desorption. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 340 (1), 16-26 (2009).
  27. Wan, Z., Li, K. Effect of pre-pyrolysis mode on simultaneous introduction of nitrogen/oxygen-containing functional groups into the structure of bagasse-based mesoporous carbon and its influence on Cu(II) adsorption. Chemosphere. 194, 370-380 (2018).
  28. Li, K., Li, J., Lu, M., Li, H., Wang, X. Preparation and amino modification of mesoporous carbon from bagasse via microwave activation and ethylenediamine polymerization for Pb(II) adsorption. Desalination and Water Treatment. 57 (50), 24004-24018 (2016).
  29. Yantasee, W., et al. Electrophilic Aromatic Substitutions of Amine and Sulfonate onto Fine-Grained Activated Carbon for Aqueous-Phase Metal Ion Removal. Separation Science and Technology. 39 (14), 3263-3279 (2004).
  30. Li, Y. B., Li, K. Q., Wang, X. H., Li, J. Ethylenediamine Modification of Hierarchical Mesoporous Carbon for the Effective Removal of Pb (II) and Related Influencing Factors. International Journal of Material Science. 6 (1), 58-65 (2016).
  31. Georgakopoulos, E., Santos, R. M., Chiang, Y. W., Manovic, V. Two-way Valorization of Blast Furnace Slag: Synthesis of Precipitated Calcium Carbonate and Zeolitic Heavy Metal Adsorbent. Journal of Visualized Experiments. (120), e55062 (2017).
  32. Loganathan, P., et al. Modelling equilibrium adsorption of single, binary, and ternary combinations of Cu, Pb, and Zn onto granular activated carbon. Environmental Science & Pollution Research. (15), 1-12 (2018).
  33. Vunain, E., Kenneth, D., Biswick, T. Synthesis and characterization of low-cost activated carbon prepared from Malawian baobab fruit shells by H3PO4 activation for removal of Cu(II) ions: equilibrium and kinetics studies. Applied Water Science. 7 (8), 4301-4319 (2017).
  34. Bohli, T., Ouederni, A., Villaescusa, I. Simultaneous adsorption behavior of heavy metals onto microporous olive stones activated carbon: analysis of metal interactions. Euro-Mediterranean Journal for Environmental Integration. 2 (1), 19 (2017).
  35. Bouhamed, F., Elouear, Z., Bouzid, J., Ouddane, B. Multi-component adsorption of copper, nickel and zinc from aqueous solutions onto activated carbon prepared from date stones. Environmental Science & Pollution Research. 23 (16), 1-6 (2016).
  36. Wu, L., et al. Surface modification of phosphoric acid activated carbon by using non-thermal plasma for enhancement of Cu(II) adsorption from aqueous solutions. Separation & Purification Technology. 197, (2018).

This article has been published

Video Coming Soon

JoVE Logo


Terms of Use





Copyright © 2024 MyJoVE Corporation. All rights reserved