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Citrus peels to clean polluted water

Citrus peels to clean polluted water

Orange peels are a problem for the food industry, since they are waste that occupies a large volume and does not have great profits at present. / UGRdivulga

Researchers from the University of Granada (UGR), the Center for Research and Technological Development in Electrochemistry (CIDETEQ), and the Center for Engineering and Industrial Development (CIDESI), both from Mexico, have developed a method that allows cleaning water containing metals heavy and organic compounds that are considered pollutants, from a new adsorbent material made from fruit peels such as orange and grapefruit.

These wastes pose a problem for the food industry, since they are waste that occupies a large volume and does not have great profits at present. It is estimated that 38.2 million tons per year of these shells are produced in the world, from the food industry.

The study in which the UGR participates has served to design a novel process in which, thanks to a controlled instantaneous decompression treatment, it is possible to modify the structure of these wastes, giving them adsorbent properties such as greater porosity and greater surface area.

The researcher Luis Alberto Romero Cano, from the Research Group on Carbon Materials of the Faculty of Sciences of the UGR, explains that, through a subsequent chemical treatment, “we have managed to add functional groups to the material, and make it selective to remove organic pollutants and metals present in water ”.

A subsequent study carried out by the authors of this work has shown that it is possible to pack these new materials in fixed-bed columns, similar to a filter through which contaminated water is passed in a process with a continuous flow, just as wastewater treatments are carried out. Through this laboratory-scale study, it has been possible to obtain design parameters to project the use of these materials on a larger scale.

"The results obtained show great potential for the use of these materials as adsorbents capable of competing against commercial activated carbon for the adsorption and recovery of metals present in wastewater, in such a way that sustainable processes could be carried out where products with high commercial value from waste from the food industry ”, says Romero Cano.

Bibliographic reference:
Luis A Romero-Cano, Linda V González-Gutiérrez, Leonardo A Baldenegro-Pérez and Francisco Carrasco-Marín. "Grape fruit peels as biosorbent: characterization and use in batch and fixed bed column for Cu (II) uptake from waste water".J Chem Technol Biotechnol (2017) in print.DOI: 10.1002 / jctb.5161
Luis A. Romero-Cano, Linda V. Gonzalez-Gutierrez, Leonardo A. Baldenegro-Perez. "Biosorbents prepared from orange peels using Instant Controlled Pressure Drop for Cu (II) and phenol removal".Industrial Crops and Products 84 (2016) 344–349 DOI: 10.1016 / j.indcrop.2016.02.027

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