Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 26, pp 25702–25714 | Cite as

Optimization of palm oil mill sludge biochar preparation for sulfur dioxide removal

  • Nursashabila Iberahim
  • Sumathi SethupathiEmail author
  • Mohammed J. K. Bashir
Environmental functions of biochar


In this study, palm oil mill sludge was used as a precursor to prepare biochar using conventional pyrolysis. Palm oil mill sludge biochar (POSB) was prepared at different preparation variables, i.e., heating temperature (300–800 °C), heating rate (10–20 °C/min) and holding time (60–120 min). The prepared biochars were tested for sulfur dioxide (SO2) adsorption in a fixed bed reactor using 300 ppm of SO2 gas at 300 ml/min (with N2 gas as balance). Response surface central composite experimental design was used to optimize the production of biochar versus SO2 removal. A quadratic model was developed in order to correlate the effect of variable parameters on the optimum adsorption capacity of SO2 gas. The experimental values and the predicted results of the model were found to show satisfactory agreement. The optimum conditions for biochar preparation to yield the best SO2 removal was found to be at 405 °C of heating temperature, 20 °C/min of heating rate and 88 min of holding time. At these conditions, the average yield of biochar and adsorption capacity for SO2 gas was reported as 54.25 g and 9.75 mg/g, respectively. The structure of biochar and their roles in SO2 adsorption were investigated by surface area, morphology images, infrared spectra, and proximate analysis, respectively. The characterization findings suggested that POSB adsorbs SO2 mainly by the functional groups.


Palm oil mill sludge Biochar Pyrolysis Sulfur dioxide Adsorbent Adsorption 



The authors wish to acknowledge the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) for the research grant provided for this project (UTARRF/C2-10/S6) and Kementerian Pendidikan Tinggi (KPT) on MyBrain15 program for the student’s financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering and Green TechnologyUniversiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Universiti, Bandar BaratKamparMalaysia

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