Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 11, pp 10808–10819 | Cite as

UV modification of biochar for enhanced hexavalent chromium removal from aqueous solution

  • Zhongya Peng
  • Hang Zhao
  • Honghong Lyu
  • Lan Wang
  • Hua Huang
  • Qiong Nan
  • Jingchun Tang
Research Article


This study was conducted to understand the effects of ultraviolet (UV) irradiation on the physicochemical properties and the hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) removal ability of biochar. Structural and morphological analysis showed that UV irradiation increased the specific surface area of biochar and added a large amount of oxygen-containing functional groups (e.g., carboxyl, lactonic, and hydroxyl) to biochar’s surface. Batch sorption experimental results showed that UV-modified biochar (UVBC) produced at the pyrolysis temperature of 300 °C, the irradiated time of 24 h, and the irradiation distance of 40 mm exhibited excellent Cr(VI) removal ability (from 1.11 mg/g for BC to 20.04 mg/g for UVBC, a 18.1-fold increase). The adsorption kinetics and adsorption isotherm data agreed well with the pseudo-second-order model and Freundlich model, respectively. Experimental and modeling results suggest that the oxygen-containing functional groups and specific surface areas of biochars were notably increased by UV irradiation, which enhanced Cr(VI) adsorption by surface complexation. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of UVBC before and after reaction with Cr(VI) showed that reduction occurred during Cr(VI) adsorption. The energy consumption of UV modification is 2.7 MJ per gram of UVBC produced, which is comparable to that in activated carbon. The results showed that the method of UV modification of biochar is a very novel and effective method for the adsorption of Cr(VI) in solution.


UV irradiation Biochar Hexavalent chromium Adsorption Specific surface area Oxygen-containing functional groups 



The research was supported by (1) Tianjin Science and Technology Program (16JCTPJC51100), (2) National Natural Science Foundation of China (41473070), and (3) The National Water Pollution Control and Treatment Science and Technology Major Project (2015ZX07203-011-06).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Pollution Processes and Environmental Criteria (Ministry of Education), Tianjin Engineering Center of Environmental Diagnosis and Contamination Remediation, College of Environmental Science and EngineeringNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.School of Energy and Environmental EngineeringHebei University of TechnologyTianjinChina

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