Adsorptive purification of heavy metal contaminated wastewater with sewage sludge derived carbon-supported Mg(II) composite

Audrey Ngambia, Jerosha Ifthikar, Irshad Ibran Shahib, Ali Jawad, Ajmal Shahzad, Mengmeng Zhao, Jia Wang, Zhulei Chen, Zhuqi Chen

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


A rod-like SDBC-Mg(II) composite was synthesized and optimized in the conditions of 25% Mg(II) loading and 500 °C calcination temperature. As-prepared SDBC-25%Mg(II)-500 adsorbent attained equilibrium in 30 min, with an extraordinary capacity of 2931.76 mg g−1 (Pb(II)) and 861.11 mg g−1 (Cd(II)), revealing a promising adsorbent for the removal of such metals so far. The adsorption kinetics was well described by the pseudo-second-order model while the adsorption isotherm could be fitted by Redlich-Peterson model. Furthermore, SDBC-25%Mg(II)-500 has a high anti-interference and selectivity in the presence of competing ions/other environmental factors and, also effectively eliminates >99% of Pb2+, Cd2+, Ag+ and Cu2+ ions from pond water, lake water and tap water. The adsorption process demonstrated a synergetic adsorption mechanism comprised of ion exchange with Mg(II), coordination with surface and inner carboxylic or carbonyl functional groups and co-precipitations as metal silicates, which is responsible for its superb adsorption performance. Besides, surface carvings of Mg(II) and tunnels on the rods resulting from the sludge carbonization provided a high surface area (91.57 m2 g−1), extra sorption sites and room for easy pollutant diffusion which contributed to surface physical adsorption. Furthermore, this technique demonstrate an alternative pathway that will relieve the burdens of sewage sludge treatment process and turn this solid waste into highly efficient adsorbent for eliminating heavy metal ions from wastewater. This can be considered as a feasible waste resource utilization to meet with the requirement from both ecology and economy for auspicious applications in industries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-321
Number of pages16
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2019


  • Adsorption
  • Biochar
  • Cadmium
  • Lead
  • MgO
  • Sewage sludge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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