Wastewater cleaned thanks to a new adsorbent material made from fruit peels

March 23, 2017, University of Granada
Diagram of the process designed by the UGR researchers. Credit: University of Granada

A collaborative of researchers has developed a process to clean water containing heavy metals and organic pollutants using a new adsorbent material made from the peels of oranges and grapefruits.

The peels are a problem for the food industry, given that they take up a great volume and aren't very useful. An estimated 38.2 million tons of fruit peels are produced worldwide each year in the food .

The researchers developed a new process by which it is possible to modify the structure of said residues via instant controlled pressure drop treatment, giving them adsorbent properties such as a greater porosity and surface area.

Researcher Luis Alberto Romero Cano explains that by using a subsequent chemical treatment, they have managed to add functional groups to the material, thus making it selective in order to remove metals and present in water.

A subsequent study carried out by the authors of this paper has showed that it is possible to pack those new materials in fixed bed columns, in a way similar to standard wastewater treatments. This laboratory-scale study has obtained parameters to design a large-scale use of the materials.

"The results show a great potential for the use of said as adsorbents capable of competing with commercial activated carbon for the adsorption and recovery of metals present in wastewater, in a way that could make it possible to carry out sustainable processes in which products with a great commercial value could be obtained from residues," Romero Cano says.

Orange peels pose a problem for the food industry, given that they are residues that take up a great volume and which aren’t very useful nowadays. Credit: University of Granada

Explore further: Researchers developed world's first water treatment techniques using apple and tomato peels

More information: Luis A Romero-Cano et al. Grapefruit peels as biosorbent: characterization and use in batch and fixed bed column for Cu(II) uptake from wastewater, Journal of Chemical Technology & Biotechnology (2017). DOI: 10.1002/jctb.5161

Luis A. Romero-Cano et al. Biosorbents prepared from orange peels using Instant Controlled Pressure Drop for Cu(II) and phenol removal, Industrial Crops and Products (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2016.02.027

Related Stories

Adsorbent that can selectively remove water contaminants

January 23, 2017

Professor Cafer T. Yavuz and his team at the Graduate School of Energy, Environment, Water, and Sustainability (EEWS) of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have developed an adsorbent that can selectively ...

Banana peels get a second life as water purifier

March 9, 2011

To the surprisingly inventive uses for banana peels — which include polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants — scientists have added purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially ...

Recommended for you

Asteroids, hydrogen make great recipe for life on Mars

March 26, 2019

A new study reveals asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced key ingredients for life if the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. An early hydrogen-rich atmosphere on Mars could also explain how the planet ...

Cool Earth theory sheds more light on diamonds

March 26, 2019

A QUT geologist has published a new theory on the thermal evolution of Earth billions of years ago that explains why diamonds have formed as precious gemstones rather than just lumps of common graphite.

New cellulose-based material represents three sensors in one

March 26, 2019

Cellulose soaked in a carefully designed polymer mixture acts as a sensor to measure pressure, temperature and humidity at the same time. The measurements are completely independent of each other. The ability to measure pressure, ...

Physicists discover new class of pentaquarks

March 26, 2019

Tomasz Skwarnicki, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University, has uncovered new information about a class of particles called pentaquarks. His findings could lead to a new understanding ...

Study finds people who feed birds impact conservation

March 26, 2019

People in many parts of the world feed birds in their backyards, often due to a desire to help wildlife or to connect with nature. In the United States alone, over 57 million households in the feed backyard birds, spending ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.