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Engineered Biochar from Biofuel Residue: Characterization and Its Silver Removal Potential

Yao, Ying, Gao, Bin, Wu, Feng, Zhang, Cunzhong, Yang, Liuyan
ACS applied materials 2015 v.7 no.19 pp. 10634-10640
Escherichia coli, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, adsorption, aqueous solutions, bagasse, biochar, biofuels, carbon, energy-dispersive X-ray analysis, ethanol production, nanocomposites, nanosilver, physicochemical properties, pyrolysis, scanning electron microscopy, silver
A novel approach was used to prepare engineered biochar from biofuel residue (stillage from bagasse ethanol production) through slow pyrolysis. The obtained biochar was characterized for its physicochemical properties as well as silver sorption ability. Sorption experimental data showed that engineered biochar quickly and efficiently removed silver ion (Ag⁺) from aqueous solutions with a Langmuir maximum capacity of 90.06 mg/g. The high sorption of Ag⁺ onto the biochar was attributed to both reduction and surface adsorption mechanisms. The reduction of Ag⁺ by the biochar was confirmed with scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses of the postsorption biochar, which clearly showed the presence of metallic silver nanoparticles on the surface of the carbon matrix. An antimicrobial ability test indicated that silver-laden biochar effectively inhibited the growth of Escherichia coli, while the original biochar without silver nanoparticles promoted growth. Thus, biochar, prepared from biofuel residue materials, could be potentially applied not only to remove Ag⁺ from aqueous solutions but also to produce a new value-added nanocomposite with antibacterial ability.