Water Quality, Exposure and Health

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 603–616 | Cite as

A Two-Step Optimization and Statistical Analysis of COD Reduction from Biotreated POME Using Empty Fruit Bunch-Based Activated Carbon Produced from Pyrolysis

  • Mutiu K. AmosaEmail author
  • Mohammed S. Jami
  • Ma’an F. R. Alkhatib
  • Dzun N. Jimat
  • Suleyman A. Muyibi
Original Paper


In this investigation, the potential of powdered activated carbon (PAC) derived from empty fruit bunch (EFB) precursor through pyrolysis method for chemical oxygen demand (COD) adsorption from biotreated palm oil mill effluent (POME) was extensively studied. The PAC was prepared and characterized using scanning electron microscope (SEM), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and Brunauer–Emmett–Teller. The SEM microphotographs showed opened micropores existing in the PAC structure with a surface area of 886.2 m2/g. The FTIR spectra revealed the three major peaks exhibited by the surface of the activated carbon at exactly wavenumbers of 1737.61, 1365.10 and 1216.91 cm−1. This suggests the presence of some functional groups which can potentially enhance positive interactions between the adsorbent and the adsorbate. Design-Expert ® software (version 7.0.0) was employed for the statistical experimental design of a two-step optimization: factorial and response surface methodology. Maximum COD reduction of 84 % (227 ppm residual) was achieved from an initial concentration of 1387 ppm. This study being the first optimization process with the utility of EFB-based PAC in the treatment of the high-strength multicomponent biotreated POME; hence, the results could serve as requisite data for upscaling and/or future investigations in the utility of the precursor as a viable adsorbent.


Optimization Powdered activated carbon Empty fruit bunch COD Adsorption Isotherms Factorial design Response surface methodology 


  1. AbdulHalim A, ZainalAbidin NN, Awang N, Ithnin A, Othman M, Wahab M (2011) Ammonia and COD removal from synthetic leachate using rice husk composite adsorbent. J Urban Environ Eng 5:24–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmad AL, Chan CY (2009) Sustainability of palm oil industries: an innovative treatment via membrane technology. J Appl Sci 9:3074–3079CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ahmad AL, Ismail S, Bhatia S (2003) Water recycling from palm oil mill effluent (POME) using membrane technology. Desalination 157:87–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alam MZ, Muyibi SA, Toramae J (2007) Statistical optimization of adsorption processes for removal of 2, 4-dichlorophenol by activated carbon derived from oil palm empty fruit bunches. J Environ Sci 19:674–677CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alam MZ, Ameem ES, Muyibi SA, Kabbashi NA (2009) The factors affecting the performance of activated carbon prepared from oil palm empty fruit bunches for adsorption of phenol. Chem Eng J 155:191–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Alkhatib MF, Muyibi SA, Amode JO (2011) Optimization of activated carbon production from empty fruit bunch fibers in one-step steam pyrolysis for cadmium removal from aqueous solution. Environmentalist 31:349–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Amosa MK, Alkhatib MFR, Jami MS, Jimat DN, Owolabi RU, Muyibi SA (2014a) Morphological synthesis and environmental application of ZSM-5 zeolite crystals from combined low-water and fluoride syntheses routes. Adv Environ Biol 8:613–625Google Scholar
  8. Amosa MK, Jami MS, Alkhatib MFR, Jimat DN, Muyibi SA (2014b) Comparative and optimization studies of adsorptive strengths of activated carbons produced from steam- and CO2-activation for BPOME treatment. Adv Environ Biol 8:603–612Google Scholar
  9. APHA, APHA, Awwa, WPCF (2005) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. American Public Health Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  10. AquaFit4Use (2010) Water quality demands in paper, chemical, food and textile companies. Sustainable Water use in chemical, paper, textile and food industries. AquaFit4Use, The NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  11. Arunachalam AM (2002) Adsorption/absorption features of peat moss for water pollution control: Feasibility studies for St. John’s harbour water pollution. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, MontrealGoogle Scholar
  12. Azami M, Bahram M, Nouri S, Naseri A (2012) A central composite design for the optimization of the removal of the azo dye, methyl orange, from waste water using the Fenton reaction. J Serb Chem Soc 77:235–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bandosz TJ (2006) Activated carbon surfaces in environmental remediation, vol 7. Interface Science and Technology, Elsevier Science & TechGoogle Scholar
  14. Bansal RC, Goyal M (2010) Activated Carbon Adsorption. Taylor and Francis Group LLC, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Çeçen F, Aktaş Ö (2012) Activated carbon for water and wastewater treatment: Integration of adsorption and biological treatment. Wiley-VCH Verlag & Co, KGaA, WeinheimGoogle Scholar
  16. Dada AO, Olalekan AP, Olatunya AM, Dada O (2012) Langmuir, Freundlich, Temkin and Dubinin-Radushkevich isotherms studies of equilibrium sorption of Zn2+ Unto phosphoric acid modified rice husk IOSR. J Appl Chem 3:38–45Google Scholar
  17. Demiral H, Gündüzoğlu G (2010) Removal of nitrate from aqueous solutions by activated carbon prepared from sugar beet bagasse. Bioresour Technol 101:1675–1680CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Demiral H, Demiral İ, Tümsek F, Karabacakoğlu B (2008) Pore structure of activated carbon prepared from hazelnut bagasse by chemical activation. Surf Interface Anal 40:616–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. El-Naas MH, Al-Zuhair S, Alhaija MA (2010) Reduction of COD in refinery wastewater through adsorption on date-pit activated carbon. J Hazard Mater 173:750–757CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Emad SMA (2010) Production of powdered activated carbon from oil palm empty fruit bunch for removal of phenol and treatment of palm oil mill final effluent. International Islamic University MalaysiaGoogle Scholar
  21. Ferraro JR, Krishnan K (2012) Practical Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy: Industrial and laboratory chemical analysis. Academic Press Inc, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  22. Freundlich HMF (1906) Over the adsorption in solution. J Phys Chem 57:1100–1107Google Scholar
  23. Ghaedi M, Ghazanfarkhani MD, Khodadoust S, Sohrabi N, Oftade M (2014) Acceleration of methylene blue adsorption onto activated carbon prepared from dross licorice by ultrasonic: equilibrium, kinetic and thermodynamic studies. J Ind Eng Chem 20:2548–2560. doi: 10.1016/j.jiec.2013.10.039 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gómez V, Callao MP (2008) Modeling the adsorption of dyes onto activated carbon by using experimental designs. Talanta 77:84–89. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2008.05.049 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gómez V, Larrechi MS, Callao MP (2007) Kinetic and adsorption study of acid dye removal using activated carbon. Chemosphere 69:1151–1158. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2007.03.076 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. HACH (2012) Water analysis handbook, 7th edn. Hach Company, LovelandGoogle Scholar
  27. Hameed B, Daud F (2008) Adsorption studies of basic dye on activated carbon derived from agricultural waste: Hevea brasiliensis seed coat. Chem Eng J 139:48–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hameed B, Tan I, Ahmad A (2009) Preparation of oil palm empty fruit bunch-based activated carbon for removal of 2, 4, 6-trichlorophenol: optimization using response surface methodology. J Hazard Mater 164:1316–1324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hank D, Azi Z, Ait Hocine S, Chaalal O, Hellal A (2014) Optimization of phenol adsorption onto bentonite by factorial design methodology. J Ind Eng Chem 20:2256–2263. doi: 10.1016/j.jiec.2013.09.058 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hassani A, Vafaei F, Karaca S, Khataee AR (2014) Adsorption of a cationic dye from aqueous solution using Turkish lignite: kinetic, isotherm, thermodynamic studies and neural network modeling. J Ind Eng Chem 20:2615–2624. doi: 10.1016/j.jiec.2013.10.049 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ho Y-S (2003) Removal of copper ions from aqueous solution by tree fern. Water Res 37:2323–2330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ho YS, Porter JF, McKay G (2002) Equilibrium isotherm studies for the sorption of divalent metal ions onto peat: copper, nickel and lead single component systems Water. Air, Soil Pollut 141:1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Ho Y-S, Chiang T-H, Hsueh Y-M (2005) Removal of basic dye from aqueous solution using tree fern as a biosorbent. Process Biochem 40:119–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Igwe JC, Arukwe U, Anioke SN (2013) Isotherm and kinetic studies of residual oil adsorption from palm oil mill effluent (POME) using boiler fly ash. Environ Eng Manag J 12:417–427Google Scholar
  35. Inglezakis V, Poulopoulos S (2006) Adsorption, ion exchange and catalysis: design of operations and environmental applications, vol 3. Elsevier B.V, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  36. Itodo AU, Itodo HU (2010) Sorption energies estimation using Dubinin-Radushkevich and Temkin adsorption isotherms. Life Sci J 7:31–39Google Scholar
  37. Kamari A, Ngah WS (2009) Isotherm, kinetic and thermodynamic studies of lead and copper uptake by H2SO4 modified chitosan. Colloids Surf B 73:257–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kiurski J, Adamovic S, Krstic J, Oros I, Miloradov MV (2011) Adsorption efficiency of low-cost materials in the removal of Zn (II) ions from printing developer. Acta Technica Corviniensis—Bull Eng 4:61–66Google Scholar
  39. Koay YS, Ahamad IS, Nourouzi MM, Chuah TG (2014) Ion-exchange adsorption of reactive dye solution onto quaternized palm kernel shell. J Appl Sci 14:1–10. doi: 10.3923/jas.2013 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lee C-H (2003) Adsorption science and technology. World Scientific Publishing Co. Re. Ltd, SingaporeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Linders M, Van Den Broeke L, Van Bokhoven J, Duisterwinkel A, Kapteijn F, Moulijn J (1997) Effect of the adsorption isotherm on one-and two-component diffusion in activated carbon. Carbon 35:1415–1425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Maarof HI, Hameed BH, Ahmad AL (2006) Adsorption isotherms for phenol onto activated carbon. AJChE 4:70–76Google Scholar
  43. Malkoc E, Nuhoglu Y (2007) Determination of kinetic and equilibrium parameters of the batch adsorption of Cr (VI) onto waste acorn of Quercus ithaburensis. Chem Eng Process 46:1020–1029CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mohan D, Sarswat A, Ok YS, Pittman CU Jr (2014) Organic and inorganic contaminants removal from water with biochar, a renewable, low cost and sustainable adsorbent—A critical review. Bioresour Technol. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.01.120 Google Scholar
  45. Neşe Ö, Ennil KT (2008) A kinetic study of nitrite adsorption onto sepiolite and powdered activated carbon. Desalination 223:174–179. doi: 10.1016/j.desal.2007.01.209 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nikolic GS (2011) Fourier Transforms—New analytical approaches and FTIR strategies. InTech, CroatiaCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Phan NH, Rio S, Faur C, Le Coq L, Le Cloirec P, Nguyen TH (2006) Production of fibrous activated carbons from natural cellulose (jute, coconut) fibers for water treatment applications. Carbon 44:2569–2577CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Razali MN, Yunus RM, Jemaat Z, Alias S (2010) Monoethanolamine wastewater treatment via adsorption method: a Study on comparison of chitosan, activated carbon, alum and zeolite. J Appl Sci (Faisalabad) 10:2544–2550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Rodríguez-Reinoso F (2007) Effect of porosity and functionality of activated carbon in adsorption. In: Zhou L (ed) Adsorption: progress in fundamental and application research. World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  50. Rupani PF, Singh RP, Ibrahim MH, Esa N (2010) Review of current palm oil mill effluent (POME) treatment methods: vermicomposting as a sustainable practice. World Appl Sci J 11:70–81Google Scholar
  51. Salman Z (2014) Properties and uses of POME. Bioenergy consult. Accessed 3 June 2015
  52. Štrkalj A, Glavaš Z, Brnardić I (2013) Application of foundry waste for adsorption of hexavalent chromium. Chem Biochem Eng Q 27:15–19Google Scholar
  53. Toth J (2002) Adsorption: Theory, modeling and analysis. Marcel Dekker Inc, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  54. Tumin ND, Chuah AL, Zawani Z, Rashid SA (2008) Adsorption of copper from aqueous solution by Elais Guineensis kernel activated carbon. J Eng Sci Technol 3:180–189Google Scholar
  55. Turan NG, Ozgonenel O (2013) The design and implementation of adsorptive removal of Cu (II) from leachate using ANFIS. Sci World J 2013:590267Google Scholar
  56. USEPA (1982) Handbook for sampling and sample preservation of water and wastewater-USEPA vol EPA-600/4-82-029. Environmental monitoring and support laboratory office of research and development, Cincinnati.Google Scholar
  57. Vandenbruwane J, De Neve S, Qualls RG, Sleutel S, Hofman G (2007) Comparison of different isotherm models for dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and nitrogen (DON) sorption to mineral soil. Geoderma 139:144–153. doi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2007.01.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Yang RT (2003) Adsorbents: Fundamentals and applications. John Wiley & Sons Inc, HobokenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Zularisam AW, Ismail AF, Salim MR, Sakinah M, Matsuura T (2009) Application of coagulation–ultrafiltration hybrid process for drinking water treatment: Optimization of operating conditions using experimental design. Sep Purif Technol 65:193–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.NRF/DST Chair: Sustainable Process Engineering, School of Chemical and Metallurgical EngineeringUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  2. 2.Bioenvironmental Engineering Research Centre (BERC), Department of Biotechnology Engineering, Kulliyyah of EngineeringInternational Islamic University MalaysiaKuala LumpurMalaysia

Personalised recommendations