Synthesis of Mesoporous Carbons from Date Pits for the Adsorption of Large Molecular Weight Micropollutants in Wastewater

  • Ahmed Al Jeffrey

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Efficient reuse of waste water requires removal of micro-pollutants from waste water streams by affordable and sustainable methods. Activated carbon is considered a powerful adsorbent due to its high surface area and low cost of treatment, compared to other expensive methods such as membrane filtration. Producing activated carbon with larger mesoporosity (>2nm) is of particular interest in industry in the removal of larger molecular sized pollutants. This study reports the synthesis of mesoporous activated carbons from a nonsoluble biomass precursor (date-pits) along with chemical activation using ZnCl2. Thus, produced activated carbon showed high surface area and large mesopore volume up to 1571 m2/g and 2.00 cm3/g respectively. In addition, the pore size of the product was as high as 9.30 nm. As a method of verification, HRTEM (Highresolution transmission electron microscopy) was used to directly authenticate the pore size of the synthesized activated carbons. Tannic acid and atrazine were used as model waste water pollutants and the adsorption capability of the produced activated carbon for these pollutants were evaluated and compared to a commercial mesoporous carbon: G60 from Norit. The results showed that the sorption capacity of produced activated carbon for tannic acid was 2 times that of G60 while the sorption capacity of produced activated carbon for atrazine was lower than that of G60. The activated carbon was also evaluated for adsorption of real secondary effluent municipal wastewater and the results suggest that the produced activated carbon was able to sorb a greater amount of biopolymers than G60. These results demonstrate that the thus-produced activated carbon may be a promising sorbent for waste water treatment.
Date of AwardJul 2013
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Biological, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorPeng Wang (Supervisor)


  • mesoporous
  • carbon
  • date-pits
  • adsorption
  • micropollutants
  • waste water

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