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Electro-sorption of ammonium ion onto nickel foam supported highly microporous activated carbon prepared from agricultural residues (dried Luffa cylindrica)

Shih, Yu-Jen, Dong, Cheng-Di, Huang, Yao-Hui, Huang, C.P.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.673 pp. 296-305
Luffa aegyptiaca, activated carbon, activation energy, adsorption, agricultural wastes, ammonium, aqueous solutions, capacitance, electric field, electrodes, foams, heat production, nickel, porous media, pyrolysis, sodium, sodium sulfate, sorption isotherms, temperature
An electrode made of loofah sponge derived activated carbon supported on nickel foam (AC/Ni) was successfully fabricated and used to remove ammonium ion (NH4+) from aqueous solution. A multilayer adsorption isotherm was used to describe ammonium electro-sorption on AC/Ni electrodes at different temperature, initial NH4+ concentration, and electrical field. The cyclic voltammetry (CV) results suggested that the electrical capacitance of AC/Ni electrodes, with the AC being prepared without preheating (OAC) or with low temperature heating (i.e., 300 AC), were higher than those prepared at high preheating temperature (i.e., 400 AC and 500 AC). Increasing the electro-sorption temperature from 10 to 50 °C decreased the monolayer NH4+ adsorption capacity from 5 to ca. 2–3 mg-N g−1, respectively. Background electrolyte, namely, sodium sulfate, exhibited significant competitive effect on the adsorption of ammonium ion at sodium ion concentration > 10−2 M. The activation energy and heat of adsorption were 9–23.2 kJ mol−1 and −3.7–−10.7 kJ mol−1, respectively, indicating a physisorption and exothermic adsorption characteristics. Based on the kinetics and thermodynamics analysis, there was slight increase in the activation energy with elevating preheating temperature, which increased the quantity of micro-pores and surface heterogeneity of the AC materials. Overall, results clearly demonstrated that carbon pyrolysis played a role on the capacitive charging behaviors of electrodes and the efficiency of NH4+ electro-sorption on the AC/Ni electrodes.