Background: There are different types of pollutants in water hence they are constantly in competition for active sites during the adsorption process. A key advantage of competitive adsorption studies is that these inform regarding the adsorbent’s performance in real water treatment applications.
Objective: This study aims to investigate the competitive adsorption of Pb(II), Cu(II), Fe(II) and Zn(II) using elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum) biochar and hybrid biochar from LDPE.
Method: The produced biochar was characterised by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). The adsorption parameters, equilibrium isotherm modelling and parametric studies were conducted based on data from the batch adsorption experiments.
Results: For both adsorbents, the removal efficiency was >99% over the entire investigation for dosage and contact time, suggesting that they are very efficient for removing multiple heavy metals from aqueous media. It was observed that removal efficiency was optimal at 2 g/l dosage and contact time was 20 minutes for both adsorbent types. The Elovich isotherm and the pseudo-second order kinetic models were best-fit for the competitive adsorption process.
Conclusion: The study was able to successfully reveal that biomass biochar from elephant grass and hybrid biochar from LDPE can be used as effective adsorbent material for the removal of heavy metals from aqueous media. This study bears a positive implication for environmental protection and solid waste management.