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Biomass-derived carbon nano-onions for the effective elimination of organic pollutants and oils from water

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Abstract

Oil spillage and leakage of organic solvents have caused severe environmental and ecological damages. It is of great significance to develop a cost-efficient and green adsorbent material with high uptake efficiency to separate the oil-water mixture. In this work, biomass-derived CNOs were first time explored in the adsorption of organic pollutants and oils from water. Carbon nano-onions (CNOs) with hydrophobicity and oleophilicity were cost-effectively synthesized in an energy efficient flame pyrolysis process using flaxseed oil as a carbon source. The as-synthesized CNOs without any further surface modification have shown high adsorption efficiency in removing organic solvents and oils from the oil-water mixture. The CNOs could adsorb diverse organic solvents such as pyridine (36.81 mg g−1), dichloromethane (90.95 mg mg−1), aniline (76 mg mg−1), toluene (64 mg mg−1), chloroform (36.25 mg mg−1), methanol (49.25 mg mg−1), and ethanol (42.25 mg mg−1). The uptake capacity for petrol and diesel over CNOs was observed at 36.68 mg mg−1 and 58.1 mg mg−1, respectively. The adsorption of pyridine followed pseudo-second-order kinetics and Langmuir’s isotherm model. Moreover, the adsorption efficiency of CNOs towards the remediation of pyridine was almost similar in real-water samples when tested in tap water, dam water, groundwater, and lake water. Similarly, the practical applicability for the separation of petrol and diesel was also verified in the real sample (sea water) and has been proven to be excellent. By simple evaporation, the recovered CNOs can be reused for more than 5 cycles. CNOs exhibit the promising potential to be used in practical applications for oil-polluted water treatment.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are thankful to MRC, MNIT Jaipur, for characterization facilities and IUAC, New Delhi, for the financial support [UFR 56321].

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The authors thank the IUAC, New Delhi, for the financial support [UFR 56321].

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All authors have contributed to the study conception and design. Poonam Kumari: material preparation and data collection and analysis. Kumud Malika Tripathi: formal analysis and editing manuscript. Ragini Gupta: supervision, conceptualization, and editing. Kamlendra Awasthi: conceptualization and supervision. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ragini Gupta.

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Kumari, P., Tripathi, K.M., Awasthi, K. et al. Biomass-derived carbon nano-onions for the effective elimination of organic pollutants and oils from water. Environ Sci Pollut Res 30, 71048–71062 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-023-27457-5

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