Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 26, pp 27482–27493 | Cite as

Sunflower stalk–derived biochar enhanced thermal activation of persulfate for high efficient oxidation of p-nitrophenol

  • Peng Sun
  • Kaikai Zhang
  • Jianyu Gong
  • Aimal Khan
  • Yu Zhang
  • Md. Suzaul Islama
  • Yanrong ZhangEmail author
Research Article


Sunflower stalk–derived biochars (BC) were prepared at various temperatures (i.e., 500, 650, and 1000 °C) and demonstrated as a highly efficient catalyst in persulfate (PS) activation for the oxidation of p-nitrophenol (PNP) at 60 °C. The apparent PNP oxidation rate constant in the BC500 (0.1543 L mol−1 S−1), BC650 (0.6062 L mol−1 S−1), or BC1000 (2.1379 L mol−1 S−1) containing PS system was about 2, 8 and 28 times higher than that in PS/PNP (0.0751 L mol−1 S−1) system, respectively. The effect of reaction temperature on PNP oxidation was also investigated. Furthermore, the radical quenching tests and electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) were employed to investigate the sulfate and hydroxyl radicals for PNP oxidation. The Raman results suggested that the defective sites on biochars possess vital role for oxidation of PNP in PS system. The possible activation pathway of PS/BC was proposed that the defective sites on BC were involved for weakening the O–O bond in PS and subsequently cleaving O–O bond by heat to generate sulfate radical. The oxidation of PNP at low concentration (below 100 μg L−1) was completely removed in urban wastewater by PS/BC system within 30 min. This work would provide new insights into PS activation by BC catalyst and afford a promising method for organic pollutant removal in high-temperature wastewater.


Sunflower stalk–derived biochar Persulfate p-Nitrophenol Oxidation Defective sites 



The authors thank the Analytical and Testing Center of HUST for the use of Raman, EA, FTIR, XPS, and XRD equipments.

Funding information

This work is financially supported by the International Science & Technology Cooperation Program of China (Nos. 2013DFG50150 and 2016YFE0126300) and the Innovative and Interdisciplinary Team at HUST (2015ZDTD027).

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5881_MOESM1_ESM.docx (1.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 1506 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peng Sun
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kaikai Zhang
    • 1
  • Jianyu Gong
    • 1
  • Aimal Khan
    • 1
  • Yu Zhang
    • 1
  • Md. Suzaul Islama
    • 1
  • Yanrong Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Environmental Science Research InstituteHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Energy and EnvironmentInner Mongolia University of Science and TechnologyBaotouChina

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