Influence of the natural organic matter in the removal of caffeine from water by fixed-bed column adsorption

  • S. Álvarez-Torrellas
  • J. L. Sotelo
  • A. Rodríguez
  • G. Ovejero
  • J. García
Original Paper


The removal of caffeine from tap water by F-400 granular activated carbon in fixed-bed adsorption experiments was carried out. Textural and chemical characterization of the adsorbent through N2 adsorption–desorption isotherms, Fourier transform infrared spectrometry, isoelectric point determination and scanning electron microscopy studies was developed in studies previously reported. Caffeine breakthrough curves and total organic carbon profiles at different operation conditions (inlet concentration, volumetric flow rate and mass of adsorbent) were obtained. These experimental results showed a displacement of the natural organic matter from the active sites exerted by caffeine molecules due to their higher affinity to the surface carbon. This behavior led to an overshooting, a local outlet natural organic matter concentration higher than the feed quantity. A competitive effect seems to be observed in the removal of the target compound, decreasing the efficiency of the process. Axial dispersion coefficients and dimensionless numbers were estimated for the caffeine removal onto F-400 activated carbon. Therefore, the regeneration of the adsorbent by adsorption–desorption cycles was studied.


Activated carbon Adsorption Fixed-bed column Emerging contaminants 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad CTQ2011-27169 and Comunidad de Madrid through REMTAVARES Network S2013/MAE-2716.


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Copyright information

© Islamic Azad University (IAU) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Álvarez-Torrellas
    • 1
  • J. L. Sotelo
    • 1
  • A. Rodríguez
    • 1
  • G. Ovejero
    • 1
  • J. García
    • 1
  1. 1.Grupo de Catálisis y Procesos de Separación (CyPS), Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Facultad de Ciencias QuímicasUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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