Development of a seaweed-based fixed-bed sorption column for the removal of metals in a waste stream

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Fucus vesiculosus, Polysiphonia lanosa, Ulva lactuca and a seaweed waste material resulting from the industrial processing of Ascophyllum nodosum were screened for Zn(II), Ni(II), Al(III) and Sb(III) removal in dried form, in both single and multi-metal systems. The Ascophyllum waste material, which is referred to as Waste Ascophyllum Product (WAP), was also screened in wet form. WAP was shown to be efficient at removing Zn(II), Ni(II) and Al(III) in both single and multi-metal systems. Removal efficiencies (RE) for dried WAP were 93, 96 and 68% for Zn(II), Ni(II) and Al(III) respectively in single metal systems. Polysiphonia lanosa was found to be more effective at removing Sb(III) than WAP with a RE of 86%. In multi-metal systems, Sb(III) was found to adversely affect the sorption of Zn(II), Ni(II) and Al(III) by WAP, while P. lanosa removed Sb(III) in multi-metal systems. The antagonistic effect of Sb(III) on the sorption of the other metals by WAP was investigated using FTIR, XPS and conductimetric titrations. The results demonstrated that Sb(III) was able to bind on a larger and more diversified number of binding sites, preventing the uptake of Zn(II), Ni(II) and Al(III) by both P. lanosa and WAP. Maximum uptake capacity values (q max) were calculated using the Langmuir, Freundlich and the combined Langmuir-Freundlich sorption isotherms. Q max values were very high in the case of WAP for the sorption of Zn(II), Ni(II) and Al(III) at 134.05, 114.94 and 99.7 mg/g biosorbent. The respective q max value for P. lanosa and Sb(III) was lower at 47.44 mg/g biosorbent. Fixed-bed column studies using WAP and P. lanosa immobilised in agar resulted in high removal efficiencies (RE), with 90, 90, 74% for Zn(II), Ni(II) and Al(III) respectively for WAP/agar and 67% for Sb(III) for P. lanosa/agar removal over 3 hours. Agar was found to contribute to the RE. The regeneration and reuse of the biosorbents was achieved using 0.1M HCl with very little loss in metal reuptake efficiency over five sorption cycles. Scale-up of the laboratory column was carried out, with a high RE observed for all metals under investigation. Mathematical and COMSOL modelling were effective tools for representing experimental data and predicting concentration breakthroughs over time.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Dr Adil Bakir
Waterford Institute of Technology

Dr. Eddy Fitzgerald
Waterford Institute of Technology

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Att 1    summary.pdf   (2.98 Mb)
Att 2    Picture_of_the_fixed_bed_sorption_columns.pdf   (0.36 Mb)
Att 3    Production_line.pdf   (0.02 Mb)
Att 4    COMSOL_scripts.pdf   (0.8 Mb)

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Author(s)Bakir, A. Fitzgerald, E.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationDevelopment of a seaweed-based fixed-bed sorption column for the removal of metals in a waste stream
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifiere8aab806-0d5d-102e-af1a-60cde515b757
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-05-18

An example of this citation in proper usage:

Bakir, A. Fitzgerald, E.   "Development of a seaweed-based fixed-bed sorption column for the removal of metals in a waste stream". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-05-18)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource Keywordsbiosorption, heavy metals, seaweed, seaweed waste material, fixed-bed sorption column, modelling, COMSOL Multiphysics
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2008-PhD-ET-4
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeEnvironmental Technologies
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this Resource
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 4
Project Start Date Monday 5th February 2007 (05-02-2007)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Wednesday 14th March 2007 (14-03-2007)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Thursday 1st October 2009 (01-10-2009)
Published on SAFERThursday 9th September 2010 (09-09-2010)
Date of Last EditSaturday 11th September 2010 at 19:00:28 (11-09-2010)
Datasets or Files Updated On Saturday 11th September 2010 at 19:00:28 (11-09-2010)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
Fresh samples of Ulva lactuca, Fucus vesiculosus and Polysiphonia lanosa were harvested from Fethard-on-Sea, Co. Wexford (52° 11' 53.68''N 6° 49' 34.64''W) and Baginbun Bay, Co. Wexford (52° 10' 30.63''N 6° 49' 42.28''W), both located in the south-east of Ireland. Both sites presented a high diversity in seaweed species with a widespread and abundance of the seaweed species under investigation. Fethard-on-Sea and Baginbun Bay were considered of low metal pollution according to the early work of Dr. Eddy Fitzgerald who analysed the metal content of different seaweed species for different locations in the south-east of Ireland.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

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Lineage information about this project or dataset
The metal removal properties of a large variety of marine macroalgae have been widely investigated. Using seaweed-based sorbents in fixed-bed sorption columns present numerous advantages over conventional wastewater treatment systems, such as an efficient utilisation of the biosorbent, low metal concentrations in effluents and the regeneration of the sorbent with metal recovery at low cost. The reuse of a waste material for the development of a novel biosorbent could be integrated into a new waste management system for the Irish seaweed processing industry. Several studies have concentrated on the utilisation of seaweed materials for metal removal and recovery; however, a few data exist on the recycling and reuse of seaweed waste materials from the Irish seaweed processing industry.
Supplementary Information
- zinc, nickel, aluminium and antimony concentrations in waste streams before and after wastewater treatment
- metal contents analysed using an ICP-OES
- Metal sorption simulation and modelling using COMSOL Multiphysics
- two papers published from this project:
1. A. Bakir, P. McLoughlin, S.A.M. Tofail, E. Fitzgerald, 'Competitive sorption of
antimony with zinc, nickel and aluminium in a seaweed-based fixed-bed sorption
column', CLEAN-Soil, Air, Water 37 (9) (2009) 712-719
2. A. Bakir, P. McLoughlin, E. Fitzgerald, 'Regeneration and reuse of a seaweed-based
biosorbent in single and multi-metal systems', CLEAN-Soil, Air, Water 38 (3) (2010)

The authors would like to thank Dr. Peter McLoughlin, Dr. Brian Murphy, Dr. Richard Walsh, Catherine Murphy and Siobhan Ryan (Estuarine Research Group, Eco-Innovation Research Centre, Waterford Institute of Technology)
Dr. Syed A.M. Tofail (Materials and Surface Science Institute, University of Limerick) for his help with the XPS analyses.
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