Enhanced photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange by coconut shell–derived biochar composites under visible LED light irradiation

Abstract

The conversion of carbon-rich biomass into valuable material is an environmental-friendly approach for its reutilization. In this study, coconut shell–derived biochar, graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4), g-C3N4/biochar, titanium dioxide (TiO2)/biochar, zinc oxide (ZnO)/biochar, and ferric oxide (Fe2O3)/biochar were synthesized and characterized by using scanning electron microscopy coupled with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM-EDX), X-ray diffraction (XRD), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), surface area analysis, UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS), and zeta potential analysis. The g-C3N4 or metal oxide particles were found to be well-distributed on the coconut shell–derived biochar with the improvement in thermal stability and enlargement of specific surface area. A great reduction in band gap energy was observed in the composite materials after incorporating with the biochar. Among different biochar composites, g-C3N4/biochar was found to have the highest photocatalytic activity. The interactive effect of parameters such as catalyst dosage, peroxymonosulfate (PMS) oxidant dosage, and solution pH on the photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange was investigated using the response surface methodology (RSM). The highest photocatalytic degradation efficiency (96.63%) was achieved at catalyst dosage of 0.75 g/L, oxidant dosage of 0.6 mM, and solution pH 3 after 30 min.

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Data availability

All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article and its supplementary materials file.

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Acknowledgments

The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Funding

This study was funded by the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS/1/2018/TK10/UTAR/02/2) by the Ministry of Education (MOE) Malaysia, Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Research Fund (IPSR/RMC/UTARRF/2020-C2/P01) and SATU Joint Research Scheme Program.

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Contributions

Yean Ling Pang and Steven Lim contributed to the conception and development the design of methodology for this study. Zhi Xuan Law performed the material preparation and data collection. Zhi Xuan Law, Yin Yin Chan, and Yean Ling Pang helped to perform the analysis with constructive discussions and drafted the manuscript. Woon Chan Chong, Siew Hoong Shuit, Chin Wei Lai, and Steven Lim commented on the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yean Ling Pang.

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Pang, Y.L., Law, Z.X., Lim, S. et al. Enhanced photocatalytic degradation of methyl orange by coconut shell–derived biochar composites under visible LED light irradiation. Environ Sci Pollut Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-020-12251-4

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Keywords

  • Photocatalytic
  • Coconut shell–derived biochar
  • Graphitic carbon nitride (g-C3N4)
  • Characterizations
  • Optimization