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Towards sustainable removal of methylthioninium chloride by using adsorption-electroradical regeneration

Ouiriemmi, Imen, Rosales, Emilio, Pazos, Marta, Gadri, Abdellatif, Ammar, Salah, Sanromán, María Angeles
Chemosphere 2018 v.210 pp. 476-485
adsorbents, adsorption, bentonite, buffering capacity, citric acid, drugs, iron, methylene blue, models, oxidation, pH, sorption isotherms
The current need for effective regeneration processes to be used in valorization of spent adsorbent demands the research of novel alternative techniques such as application of Advances Oxidation Processes. In this sense, the recent application of electroradical (ER) processes turned out to be very promising in terms of the drugs degradation from different environments. Thus, in this study, harnessing of a low cost natural adsorbent, Tunisian bentonite (BE), was evaluated for the removal of a model drug such as methylthioninium chloride (MC), and then its regeneration by ER processes was demonstrated. Initially, the BE was characterized and the adsorption of the MC was studied. This process followed a pseudo-first order kinetic and Langmuir isotherm fitted well to data reaching uptake values around 145–155 mg g−1. After that, BE regeneration by an ER process such as electro-Fenton process was ascertained. Due to the high buffering capacity of the BE, the addition of citric acid (1 mM) was necessary in order to assure the acidic medium to favor the oxidation reaction. By operating under optimized experimental conditions (current intensity 300 mA, pH 3, Fe2+ (1 mM) and citric acid (1 mM)) near complete adsorbent regeneration was achieved after 300 min of treatment and the pseudo-first-order model fitted well the degradation data. Furthermore, the adsorbent was efficiently used in successive cycles of adsorption-regeneration without operational problems that proved the efficiency of this technology. From the obtained results, a side-by-side configuration was designed and simulated, confirming the viability of the design at large scale.