Kinetic Studies Of The Adsorption Of Heavy Metal (Chromium) From Industrial Waste Water Using Palm Kernel Shells

Project and Seminar Material for Chemistry

Kinetic Studies Of The Adsorption Of Heavy Metal (Chromium) From Industrial Waste Water Using Palm Kernel Shells


Palm kernel shells are readily available agricultural waste products that have been used as low-cost potential adsorbent to remove chromium from effluent water. The production of activated carbon from palm kernel shells using KOH as activating agent was studied. Batch adsorption studies were carried out as a function of parameters such as carbon dosage, pH and contact time. Chromium removal was found to be pH dependent with the optimum pH for chromium removal being 6.5. Equilibrium time was attained at 200 min. Maximum adsorption was attained at an adsorbent loading of 5g. The Lagergrenpseudo first-order and the Ho pseudo second-order models were used to study adsorption kinetics. Pseudo first order kinetics was found to be better fit for adsorption chromium(III) ions with good correlation factor of 0.965. These results reveal that activated carbon made from palm kernel shells possesses good properties required for adsorption of heavy metal ions from aqueous solution.

Table of Contents

  • Declaration
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • List of Figures
  • List of Tables

Chapter One


  • 1.1 Background of study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Aim and objectives
  • 1.3.1 Aim
  • 1.3.2 Objectives
  • 1.4 Significance of work
  • 1.5 Scope of work

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Adsorption
  • 2.2.1 Definition of adsorption
  • 2.2.2 Adsorption processes
  • 2.2.3 Types of adsorption
  • 2.2.4 Comparison of physical and chemical adsorption process
  • 2.2.5 Applications of adsorption
  • 2.3 Activation
  • 2.3.1 Physical activation
  • 2.3.2 Chemical activation
  • 2.4 Activated carbon
  • 2.4.1 Definition of activated carbon
  • 2.4.2 Classification of activated carbon
  • 2.4.3 Activated carbon production
  • 2.4.4 The mechanism of adsorption
  • 2.5 Characteristics of palm kernel shell
  • 2.6 Adsorption kinetics
  • 2.6.1 Kinetic models
  • 2.6.2 Isotherm model
  • 2.7 Industrial wastewater
  • 2.7.1 Effects of industrial pollutants on life
  • 2.7.2 Chromium
  • 2.8 Review of past work done on adsorption of heavy metals wastewater

Chapter Three

Materials and Method

  • 3.1 Raw material
  • 3.2 Equipment and reagents
  • 3.2.1 Equipment
  • 3.2.2 Reagents
  • 3.3 Activating agent
  • 3.3.1 Potassium hydroxide solution preparation
  • 3.4 Preparation of activated carbon
  • 3.4.1 Washing
  • 3.4.2 Size reduction
  • 3.4.3 Dehydration
  • 3.4.4 Carbonization
  • 3.4.5 Chemical activation
  • 3.4.6 Washing and drying
  • 3.5 Potassium dichromate solution preparation
  • 3.6 Characterisation of activated carbon
  • 3.6.1 Determination of pH
  • 3.6.2 Determination of ash content
  • 3.6.3 Determination of moisture content
  • 3.6.4 Determination of bulk density
  • 3.7 Experimental method
  • 3.7.1 Effect of adsorbent dosage
  • 3.7.2 Effect of pH
  • 3.7.3 Effect of contact time
  • 3.8 Adsorption kinetics

Chapter Four

Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 Activated carbon preparation results
  • 4.2 Characterization of the activated carbon
  • 4.2.1 pH
  • 4.2.2 Bulk density
  • 4.2.3 Moisture content
  • 4.2.4 Ash content
  • 4.3 Results of adsorption process
  • 4.3.1 Effect of absorbent dosage
  • 4.3.2 Effect of pH
  • 4.3.3 Effect of contact time
  • 4.4 Chromium ion adsorption analysis
  • 4.5 Kinetic studies
  • 4.5.1 Lagergren pseudo first-order equation
  • 4.5.2 Ho Pseudo second-order equation

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Conclusion
  • 5.2 Recommendation
  • References
  • Appendix
  • 1 Activated carbon yield
  • 2 Activated carbon characterization
  • 3 Adsorption of activated carbon
  • 4 Effect of contact time
  • 5 Lagregren pseudo first-order calculations
  • 6 Ho pseudo second-order calculations

List of Figures

  • Figure 4.1: Effect of carbon dosage on the batch adsorption of chromium (III) ion
  • Figure 4.2: Effect of carbon pH on the batch adsorption of chromium (III) ion
  • Figure 4.3: Effect of contact time on the batch adsorption of chromium (III) ion
  • Figure 4.4: Effect of contact time on adsorption of chromium ion
  • Figure 4.5: Pseudo first-order kinetic plot for the batch adsorption of chromium ions
  • Figure 4.6: Pseudo second-order kinetic plot for the batch adsorption of chromium ions

List of Tables

  • Table 2.1: Comparison between physical and chemical adsorption
  • Table 2.2: Some physical properties of palm kernel shells
  • Table 4.1: Results from activated carbon production
  • Table 4.2: Physiochemical properties of the activated carbon compared with reference
  • Table 4.3: Results of adsorption from Atomic Adsorption Spectrophotometer
  • Table 4.4: Solute removed at various time intervals
  • Table 4.5: Parameters for pseudo first-order equation
  • Table 4.6: Pseudo first-order parameters
  • Table 4.7: Parameters for pseudo second-order equation
  • Table 4.8: Pseudo second-order parameters

Chapter One


1.1 Background of Study

Activated carbon is a carbonaceous and crystalline material with a high surface area that makes it appropriate for adsorbing chemical substances that contaminate water or air, depending on its structure. Activated carbon is a microcrystalline , non-graphite form of carbon with porous structure that has been processed to develop its internal porosity, and characterized by large specific surface area of 500-2500m2/g. It is a versatile adsorbent with wide range of uses and applications. The most commonly known use of activated carbon is the purification of water sources. Activated carbon filter is one of several systems used to purify water drawn from wells and springs for home use. It is most effective in the removal of organic substances from water. Its porosity multiplies the surface available to adsorb toxins or react with chemicals (Musal, 2011).

Several agricultural wastes products have been found useful in activated carbon production, like palm kernel shell, coconut shell, rise husk, groundnut husk, cassava peel, maize cob, banana pith, medicagosativa (Alfalfa), sphagnum moss peat, sunflower stalks and others (Nwankwo et al., 2014). Activated carbon can be produced in abundance from oil palm endocarp (or oil palm kernel shell) which is an abundant agricultural solid waste from palm-oil processing mills in many tropical countries such as Nigeria, Malaysia, and Thailand (Silgado et al., 2014).

The use of palm shell as an adsorbent is beneficial because ordinarily, palm shells are considered as waste in many parts of Nigeria, so utilizing them to produce activated carbon is an effective waste management practice. This recycle plan is better than dumping them to pollute the environment or cause environmental or disposal problems.

Another reason why producing activated carbon from agricultural waste is beneficial is because it is very economical especially in a country like Nigeria. So there is no need to worry about purchasing expensive equipment and chemicals to remove chemical waste.

Being a good adsorbent of chemical compounds from industrial waste effluent, activated carbon produced from agricultural products can be used to remove heavy metals from industrial waste water. Different physical and chemical processes are available for removal of heavy metals from waste water, such as co-precipitation, coagulation, evaporation recovery process, electrolytic recovery, electro-chemical precipitation, ultra-filtration, ion exchange, reverse osmosis and biological techniques. A major drawback with precipitation is sludge formation. Ion exchange is a better alternative technique for such purpose, but it is not economically appealing because of high operational cost. The use of activated carbon for the removal of toxic metal ion pollutants and numerous other organic materials from both gases and aqueous solutions is of considerable importance. Activated carbon has proven to be an efficient and cost effective adsorbent (Musah, 2011).

On the other hand, the kinetics of the adsorption process will enable one to determine the rate as well as the mechanism of adsorption processes (Okafor et al., 2015).

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The release of heavy metals into the environment through industrial effluent is a major concern worldwide and removal of such pollutants has been of great concern during the last decades. Heavy metals can pose health hazards to man and aquatic lives. Wastewater commonly contains Chromium, lead, Copper and Nickel ions. These heavy metals are not biodegradable and their presence in stream, lakes leads to bioaccumulations in living organisms, causing health problems in animals, plants and human beings. Therefore, it is of prime importance to remove heavy metals from wastewater that is to be discharged to water bodies.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

1.3.1 Aim

To study the kinetics of the adsorption of heavy metal from industrial waste water using palm kernel shells.

1.3.2 Objectives
  1. To prepare a low-cost adsorbent from palm kernel shells.
  2. To activate the adsorbent prepared from palm kernel shells.
  3. To study the kinetics of the adsorption process.
  4. To determine the efficiency of palm kernel shells as an environmentally friendly adsorbent.
  5. To characterize activated carbon made from palm kernel shells.

1.4 Significance of Work

With rapid increase in industrial activities, pollution due to the presence of heavy metals in water and wastewaters has been a major cause of concern for environmental engineers. Several episodes of heavy metal contamination in aquatic environment have increased the awareness about heavy metal toxicity. Among these, Minamata tragedy due to mercury poisoning and “Itai-Itai” disease in Japan due to cadmium toxicity are well known. More recently cases of lead poisoning were reported in Zamfara State, Nigeria; which led to the death of several people and animals as a result of lead contamination of water bodies (streams and rivers) and the environment. The presence of heavy metals in the environment is thus of major concern because of their extreme toxicity and tendency for bioaccumulation in the food chain even in relatively low concentration (Adie et al., 2012). So it has become necessary to develop low-cost adsorbent for the removal of heavy metals from industrial effluent. This research work gives the step by step procedure on developing a low-cost adsorbent from palm kernel shells.

1.5 Scope of Work

Although there are several agricultural products (e.g. coconut shell, maize cob, rise husk) used in producing activated carbon, this work only focuses on the use of activated palm kernel shell as heavy metal adsorbent. Heavy metals in industrial wastewater are numerous (e.g. lead ions, cadmium ions, etc.) but this study will only investigate the kinetics of the removal of chromium ion from industrial effluent using palm kernel shells.

Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Conclusion

The experimental results indicated that adsorbent made from palm kernel shells was successfully used for the adsorption of the chromium ion from industrial effluent water. Experimental parameters such as dosage of activated carbon, pH of activated carbon and contact time must be optimally selected to obtain the highest possible removal of chromium ion. Increase in contact time and adsorbent doseresulted to increase in percentage adsorption or removal of chromium ions. The optimum equilibrium time were attained after 200 min of agitation and the kinetic mechanism is well described with the Lagergren’s pseudo first-order reaction kinetics. The results indicated that the optimum pH of palm kernel shells activated carbon is 6.57 and the optimum adsorbent dosage for approximately 50ppm heavy metal concentration was 5g.

This works shows that locally available materials could easily be sourced to produce activated carbon which can be used as efficient adsorbents for chromium ion removal from wastewater, representing an environmentally effective means of utilizing these agricultural residues.

5.2 Recommendation

  1. Palm kernel shells are an agricultural waste material and it can be used not only for chromium ion adsorption, but can also be applied to the removal other heavy metals in industrial and municipal wastewater stream or for industrial water treatment
  2. Palm kernel shells should not be vied as a mere household waste, rather, by applying the waste in wealth initiative, palm kernel shells should be used to produce activated carbon in an economic level due to its great adsorbing ability.
  3. The use of activated palm kernel shells as an alternative, inexpensive adsorbent could, drastically reduce the use of expensive adsorbent thereby reducing the cost of wastewater treatment.

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