Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 10902–10915 | Cite as

Application of biochar for acid gas removal: experimental and statistical analysis using CO2

  • Hanieh BamdadEmail author
  • Kelly Hawboldt
  • Stephanie MacQuarrie
  • Sadegh Papari
Research Article


Acid gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide are common contaminants in oil and gas operations, landfill gases, and exhaust stacks from power plants. While there are processes currently used to treat these effluents (e.g., amine absorption and adsorption using zeolite), many of these processes require high energy, space, and hazardous chemicals. Removal using biochar derived from the fast pyrolysis of forestry residues represents a more sustainable option. In this study, adsorption using CO2 as a surrogate for acid gases was investigated using various biochars produced from fast pyrolysis of sawmill residues. Response surface methodology was used to determine operating conditions for maximum adsorption and assess interaction of the adsorption parameters, i.e., temperature, inlet feed flow rate, and CO2 concentration, on biochar adsorption capacity. The Freundlich isotherm best represented the equilibrium adsorption, and the kinetic model was pseudo first-order. Thermodynamic analysis indicated the adsorption process was spontaneous and exothermic. The biochar had better adsorption capacity relative to commercial zeolite. Our results suggested that biochar could be used as a sustainable and cost-effective option for contaminant removal from acid gases produced in landfill gas treatment, fossil fuel extraction, and/or combustion.


Acid gases Carbon dioxide Adsorption Biochar Optimization RSM 



We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Andrew Carrier, Postdoctoral Fellow in Cape Breton University for productive comments and discussion.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_4509_MOESM1_ESM.docx (624 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 623 kb)


  1. Abnisa F, Arami-Niya A, Daud WMAW, Sahu JN (2013) Characterization of bio-oil and bio-char from pyrolysis of palm oil wastes. Bioenergy Res 6:830–840. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ammendola P, Raganati F, Chirone R (2017) CO2 adsorption on a fine activated carbon in a sound assisted fluidized bed: thermodynamics and kinetics. Chem Eng J 322:302–313. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson MJ, Whitcomb PJ (2013) DOE Simplified: practical tools for effective experimentation, vol 53.
  4. Auta M, Hameed BH (2014) Adsorption of carbon dioxide by diethanolamine activated alumina beads in a fixed bed. Chem Eng J 253:350–355. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bamdad H, Hawboldt K (2016) Comparative study between physicochemical characterization of biochar and metal organic frameworks (MOFs) as gas adsorbents. Can J Chem Eng 9999:1–7. Google Scholar
  6. Bamdad H, Hawboldt K, Macquarrie S (2018a) Nitrogen functionalized biochar as a renewable adsorbent for efficient CO2 removal. Energy Fuel 32:11742–11748. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bamdad H, Hawboldt K, MacQuarrie S (2018b) A review on common adsorbents for acid gases removal: focus on biochar. Renew Sust Energ Rev 81:1705–1720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baroutaji A, Gilchrist MD, Smyth D, Olabi AG (2015) Crush analysis and multi-objective optimization design for circular tube under quasi-static lateral loading. Thin-Walled Struct 86:121–131. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baş D, Boyacı İH, Bas D et al (2007) Modeling and optimization I: usability of response surface methodology. J Food Eng 78:836–845. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Box GEP, Wilson KB (1951) On the experimental attainment of optimum conditions. J R Stat Soc 13:1–45. Google Scholar
  11. Bruce PC (2016) Introductory statistics and analytics: a resampling perspective. John Wiley, Inc., HobokenGoogle Scholar
  12. Chatterjee R, Sajjadi B, Mattern DL, Chen WY, Zubatiuk T, Leszczynska D, Leszczynski J, Egiebor NO, Hammer N (2018) Ultrasound cavitation intensified amine functionalization: a feasible strategy for enhancing CO2capture capacity of biochar. Fuel 225:287–298. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chen Y, Zhang D (2014) Adsorption kinetics, isotherm and thermodynamics studies of flavones from Vaccinium Bracteatum Thunb leaves on NKA-2 resin. Chem Eng J 254:579–585. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen CP, Chuang MT, Hsiao YH, Yang YK, Tsai CH (2009a) Simulation and experimental study in determining injection molding process parameters for thin-shell plastic parts via design of experiments analysis. Expert Syst Appl 36:10752–10759. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chen S, Shen W, Yu F, Wang H (2009b) Kinetic and thermodynamic studies of adsorption of Cu2+ and Pb2+ onto amidoximated bacterial cellulose. Polym Bull 63:283–297. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Creamer AE, Gao B, Zhang M (2014) Carbon dioxide capture using biochar produced from sugarcane bagasse and hickory wood. Chem Eng J 249:174–179. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Draper NR, Smith H (1998) Applied regression analysis. Technometrics 47:706. Google Scholar
  18. Espejel-Ayala F, Corella RC, Pérez AM et al (2014) Carbon dioxide capture utilizing zeolites synthesized with paper sludge and scrap-glass. Waste Manag Res 32:1219–1226. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Freundlich HM (1926) New conception in colloidal chemistry, colloid and capillary chemistry. Methuen 45:970–984. Google Scholar
  20. Gallucci F, Van Sint Annaland M (2015) Process intensification for sustainable energy conversion.
  21. García S, Gil MV, Martín CF et al (2011) Breakthrough adsorption study of a commercial activated carbon for pre-combustion CO2 capture. Chem Eng J 171:549–556. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Geethakarthi A, Phanikumar BR (2011) Adsorption of reactive dyes from aqueous solutions by tannery sludge developed activated carbon: kinetic and equilibrium studies. Int J Environ Sci Technol 8:561–570. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gereli G, Seki Y, Murat Kuşoǧlu I, Yurdakoç K (2006) Equilibrium and kinetics for the sorption of promethazine hydrochloride onto K10 montmorillonite. J Colloid Interface Sci 299:155–162. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ghorai S, Pant KK (2005) Equilibrium, kinetics and breakthrough studies for adsorption of fluoride on activated alumina. Sep Purif Technol 42:265–271. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gil MV, Álvarez-Gutiérrez N, Martínez M, Rubiera F, Pevida C, Morán A (2015) Carbon adsorbents for CO2 capture from bio-hydrogen and biogas streams: breakthrough adsorption study. Chem Eng J 269:148–158. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Giles CH, Smith D, Huitson A (1974) A general treatment and classification of the solute adsorption isotherm. I. Theoretical. J Colloid Interface Sci 47:755–765. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goel C, Kaur H, Bhunia H, Bajpai PK (2016) Carbon dioxide adsorption on nitrogen enriched carbon adsorbents: experimental, kinetics, isothermal and thermodynamic studies. J CO2 Util 16:50–63. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. González AS, Plaza MG, Rubiera F, Pevida C (2013) Sustainable biomass-based carbon adsorbents for post-combustion CO2 capture. Chem Eng J 230:456–465. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Guerrero M, Ruiz MP, Alzueta MU, Bilbao R, Millera A (2005) Pyrolysis of eucalyptus at different heating rates: studies of char characterization and oxidative reactivity. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 74:307–314. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Halsey G (1948) Physical adsorption on non uniform surfaces. J Chem Phys 16:931–937. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Heidari A, Younesi H, Rashidi A, Ghoreyshi AA (2014a) Evaluation of CO2adsorption with eucalyptus wood based activated carbon modified by ammonia solution through heat treatment. Chem Eng J 254:503–513. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Heidari A, Younesi H, Rashidi A, Ghoreyshi AA (2014b) Evaluation of CO2 adsorption with eucalyptus wood based activated carbon modified by ammonia solution through heat treatment. Chem Eng J 254:503–513. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ho YS, McKay G (1999) Pseudo-second order model for sorption processes. Process Biochem 34:451–465. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Khan TA, Khan EA, Shahjahan (2015) Removal of basic dyes from aqueous solution by adsorption onto binary iron-manganese oxide coated kaolinite: non-linear isotherm and kinetics modeling. Appl Clay Sci 107:70–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Kim KH, Kim JY, Cho TS, Choi JW (2012) Influence of pyrolysis temperature on physicochemical properties of biochar obtained from the fast pyrolysis of pitch pine (Pinus rigida). Bioresour Technol 118:158–162. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kim KH, Kim TS, Lee SM, Choi D, Yeo H, Choi IG, Choi JW (2013) Comparison of physicochemical features of biooils and biochars produced from various woody biomasses by fast pyrolysis. Renew Energy 50:188–195. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Langmuir I (1916) The constitution and fundamental properties of solids and liquids (part I). J Am Chem Soc 38:2221–2295. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Li J, Dai J, Liu G, Zhang H, Gao Z, Fu J, He Y, Huang Y (2016) Biochar from microwave pyrolysis of biomass: a review. Biomass Bioenergy 94:228–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Liu Y (2009) Is the free energy change of adsorption correctly calculated? J Chem Eng Data 54:1981–1985. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Liu H, Cai X, Wang Y, Chen J (2011) Adsorption mechanism-based screening of cyclodextrin polymers for adsorption and separation of pesticides from water. Water Res 45:3499–3511. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lua AC, Yang T (2009) Theoretical and experimental SO2 adsorption onto pistachio-nut-shell activated carbon for a fixed-bed column. Chem Eng J 155:175–183. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lua AC, Yang T, Guo J (2004) Effects of pyrolysis conditions on the properties of activated carbons prepared from pistachio-nut shells. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 72:279–287. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Monazam ER, Spenik J, Shadle LJ (2013) Fluid bed adsorption of carbon dioxide on immobilized polyethylenimine (PEI): kinetic analysis and breakthrough behavior. Chem Eng J 223:795–805. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Morero B, Groppelli ES, Campanella EA (2016) Evaluation of biogas upgrading technologies using a response surface methodology for process simulation. J Clean Prod 141:978–988. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mulgundmath VP, Jones RA, Tezel FH, Thibault J (2012) Fixed bed adsorption for the removal of carbon dioxide from nitrogen: breakthrough behaviour and modelling for heat and mass transfer. Sep Purif Technol 85:17–27. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. O’Mahony T, Guibal E, Tobin JM (2002) Reactive dye biosorption by Rhizopus arrhizus biomass. Enzym Microb Technol 31:456–463. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Papari S, Hawboldt K, Helleur R (2015) Pyrolysis: a theoretical and experimental study on the conversion of softwood sawmill residues to biooil. Ind Eng Chem Res 54:605–611. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Papari S, Hawboldt K, Helleur R (2017) Production and characterization of pyrolysis oil from sawmill residues in an auger reactor. Ind Eng Chem Res 56:1920–1925. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Plaza MG, Pevida C, Arenillas A, Rubiera F, Pis JJ (2007) CO2 capture by adsorption with nitrogen enriched carbons. Fuel 86:2204–2212. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Plaza MG, González AS, Pis JJ, Rubiera F, Pevida C (2014) Production of microporous biochars by single-step oxidation: effect of activation conditions on CO2 capture. Appl Energy 114:551–562. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Raganati F, Alfe M, Gargiulo V, et al (2018) Isotherms and thermodynamics of CO2 adsorption on a novel carbon-magnetite composite sorbent. Chem Eng Res Des 134:540–552.
  52. Rajapaksha AU, Vithanage M, Zhang M, Ahmad M, Mohan D, Chang SX, Ok YS (2014) Pyrolysis condition affected sulfamethazine sorption by tea waste biochars. Bioresour Technol 166:303–308. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rouquerol J, Rouquerol F, Llewellyn P, Maurin G, Sing KSW (2013) Adsorption by powders and porous solids: principles, methodology and applications: second edition.
  54. Ryu Z, Zheng J, Wang M, Zhang B (1999) Characterization of pore size distributions on carbonaceous adsorbents by DFT. Carbon 37:1257–1264. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Schaefer M (1991) Measurement of Adsorption-Isotherms by Means of Gas ChromatographyGoogle Scholar
  56. Seyhi B, Drogui P, Buelna G, Blais JF (2011) Modeling of sorption of bisphenol A in sludge obtained from a membrane bioreactor process. Chem Eng J 172:61–67. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Shafeeyan MS, Daud WMAW, Houshmand A, Shamiri A (2010) A review on surface modification of activated carbon for carbon dioxide adsorption. J Anal Appl Pyrolysis 89:143–151. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shafeeyan MS, Daud WMAW, Shamiri A, Aghamohammadi N (2015) Modeling of carbon dioxide adsorption onto ammonia-modified activated carbon: kinetic analysis and breakthrough behavior. Energy Fuel 29:6565–6577. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sing KSW, Everett DH, Haul RAW et al (1985) Reporting physisorption data for gas/solid systems with special reference to the determination of surface area and porosity (recommendations 1984). Pure Appl Chem 57:603–619. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Singh J, Bhunia H, Basu S (2018) CO2 adsorption on oxygen enriched porous carbon monoliths: Kinetics, isotherm and thermodynamic studies. J Ind Eng Chem 60:321–332.
  61. Spokas KA, Novak JM, Stewart CE et al (2011) Qualitative analysis of volatile organic compounds on biochar. Chemosphere 85:869–882. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Srivastava VC, Mall ID, Mishra IM (2007) Adsorption thermodynamics and isosteric heat of adsorption of toxic metal ions onto bagasse fly ash (BFA) and rice husk ash (RHA). Chem Eng J 132:267–278. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Tamez Uddin M, Rukanuzzaman M, Maksudur Rahman Khan M, Akhtarul Islam M (2009) Adsorption of methylene blue from aqueous solution by jackfruit (Artocarpus heteropyllus) leaf powder: a fixed-bed column study. J Environ Manag 90:3443–3450. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Thouchprasitchai N, Pintuyothin N, Pongstabodee S (2017) Optimization of CO2 adsorption capacity and cyclical adsorption/desorption on tetraethylenepentamine-supported surface-modified hydrotalcite. J Environ Sci 65:293–305. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Tiwari D, Goel C, Bhunia H, Bajpai PK (2017) Dynamic CO2 capture by carbon adsorbents: Kinetics, isotherm and thermodynamic studies. Sep Purif Technol 181:107–122.
  66. Valenciano R, Aylón E, Izquierdo MT (2015) A critical short review of equilibrium and kinetic adsorption models for VOCs breakthrough curves modelling. Adsorpt Sci Technol 33:851–869. doi:
  67. Wang Q, Luo J, Zhong Z, Borgna A (2011) CO2 capture by solid adsorbents and their applications: current status and new trends. Energy Environ Sci 4:42–55. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wang X, Chen L, Guo Q (2014) Development of hybrid amine-functionalized MCM-41 sorbents for CO2 capture. Chem Eng J 260:573–581. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Wang J, Huang H, Wang M, Yao L, Qiao W, Long D, Ling L (2015) Direct capture of low-concentration CO<inf>2</inf> on mesoporous carbon-supported solid amine adsorbents at ambient temperature. Ind Eng Chem Res 54:5319–5327. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Wu J, Zhou L, Sun Y, Su W, Zhou Y (2007) Measurement and prediction of adsorption equilibrium for a H2/N2/CH4/CO2 mixture. AICHE J 53:1178–1191. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Yaumi AL, Bakar MZA, Hameed BH (2018) Melamine-nitrogenated mesoporous activated carbon derived from rice husk for carbon dioxide adsorption in fixed-bed. Energy 155:46–55.
  72. Zhu T, Heo HJ, Row KH (2010) Optimization of crude polysaccharides extraction from Hizikia fusiformis using response surface methodology. Carbohydr Polym 82:106–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanieh Bamdad
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kelly Hawboldt
    • 1
  • Stephanie MacQuarrie
    • 2
  • Sadegh Papari
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Engineering and Applied ScienceMemorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada
  2. 2.Department of ChemistryCape Breton UniversitySydneyCanada

Personalised recommendations