Potential Use of Fly Ash to Remove Cadmium from Aqueous Systems

  • M. Hajarnavis
  • K. S. Sajwan
  • S. Paramasivam
  • C. S. Chetty
  • G. R. Reddy


Removal of pollutants from water via adsorption on to activated carbon is a promising remediation technique. However, due to its high cost and limited availability, it is necessary to investigate alternate adsorbent sources. Fly ash is, an inexpensive and abundantly available by-product from thermal power plants that utilizes coal for the production of energy. A study was conducted to (i) identify the optimum conditions for Cd adsorption by fly ash, (ii) evaluate the potential use of fly ash to remove cadmium from a mixed metal solution of Cu, Cd, Mn, Ni, and Zn at room temperature mimicking industrial and municipal effluents and (iii) study the kinetics of Cd adsorption. Preliminary results of the study indicated that a pH of 5 was optimum for Cd removal. Results of the kinetics studies indicated that removal of Cd by fly ash increased with increasing contact time while Cd removal also marginally increased with increasing amount of adsorbent used. Fitting of Cd adsorption data for the full range of metal concentrations was described by a Freundlich model with a moderate correlation coefficient (r = 0.63) while the adsorption phenomena was described well by Langmuir isotherms at moderate metal concentration levels (5 to 100 mg L−1) with high correlation coefficient (r = 0.85). This study revealed that fly ash could be used as an adsorbent to remove Cd from wastewater containing a mixture of various inorganic pollutants.


Chemical Oxygen Demand Thermal Power Plant Intraparticle Diffusion Bituminous Coal Initial Metal Concentration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Phipps, D.A., Chemistry and biochemistry of trace metals in biological systems. in Effects of heavy metals in plants, N.W. Lepp (ed.), Applied Science Publishers.1, 1981.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alloway, B.J., Heavy metals in soils. Blackie Publishers, London, 1995.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jackson, A.P., and Alloway, B.J., The transfer of cadmium from agricultural soils to the human food chain. in Biogeochemistry of Trace Metals, D.C. Adriano (ed.) Lewis Publishers, Chelsea, Michigan, 109, 1992Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Weber, W. J., Jr. and Mornes, J. C., Kinetics of adsorption on carbon from solutions, J. Sanitary Engineering, Div. Am. Civil Engr. 89, (2), 31, 1963.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sajwan, K.S., Alva, A.K., and Keefer, R.F., Biogeochemistry of trace elements in coal and coal combustion by-products, Kluwer academic/Plenum Publishers. New York, 359, 1999.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Khandekar, M.P., Bhide, A.D., and Sajwan, K.S., Trace Elements in Indian coal and coal fly ash. in Biogeochemistry of trace elements in coal and coal combustion byproducts, K.S. Sajwan et al. (eds.). Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 99, 1999.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Adriano, D.C., Page, A.L., Elseewi, A.A., Chang, A.C., and Straughan, I., Utilization and disposal of fly ash and other coal residues in terrestrial ecosystems: A Review, J. Environ. Qual. 9, 333, 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Singh, B.K., Misra, N.M., and Rawt, N.S., Fly ash as adsorbent for toxic organic: A Review, Minetech, 14, (4), 35, 1993.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vandenbusch, M. B., and Sell, N. J., Fly Ash, a Sorbent for the Removal of Biologically Resistant Organic Matter, Res. Conserv. and Recycling, 6, 95, 1992.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Khanna, P., and Malhotra, S. K., Kinetics and Mechanism of Phenol Adsorption on Fly Ash, Indian J. Environ. Health, 19, (3), 224, 1977.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gupta, G. S., Prasad, G., and Singh, V. N., Removal of Chrome Dye from Aqueous Solutions by Mixed Adsorbents Fly Ash and Coal, Water Res. 24, (1), 45, 1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gupta, G. S., Prasad, G., and Singh, V. N., Treatment of Hazardous Dye-House Wastewater by Low Cost Materials, J. IAEM, 18, 107, 1991.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Rao, A. J., Verma, N., and Kaur, A., Bottom Ash for Adsorption of Nickel Metal Ion from Industrial Wastewater, Indian J. Environ. Health, 32, (3), 280, 1990.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Singh, D., and Rawat, N. S., Removal of Copper from Aqueous System by Sorption on Bituminous Coal, Asian Environ., 56, 1992.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Frye, G.C., and Thomas, M.M., Adsorption of organic compounds on carbonate minerals. 2: Extraction of carboxylic acids from recent and ancient carbonates, Chem. Geol., 109, 215, 1993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    van, Proosdij, E.M.H., and Reddy, K.J., Immobilization of contaminants with in-situ calcite precipitation, A preliminary evaluation, in. Contaminated Soils. 3 rd International Conference on Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements, R. Prost (ed.), Paris, France, 1997.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zavarin, M., and Doner, H.E., Selenium, Nickel, and Manganese interactions with calcite, in Sorption and Desorption of Trace Elements, Proceedings of 4rn International Conference on the Biogeochemistry of Trace Elements, I.K. Iskandar et al. (eds.), U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, New Hapshire, 1997.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Reddy, K.J., Coal fly ash chemistry and carbon dioxide infusion process to enhance its utilization, in Biogeochemistry of trace elements in coal and coal combustion byproducts, K.S. Sajwan et al. (eds.), Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, 133, 1999.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Theis, T.L., and Wirth, J.L., Sorptive behavior of trace elements on fly ash in aqueous systems, Environ. Sci. Technol, 11, 1096, 1997.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Rai, D., Ainsworth, C.C., Eary, L.E., Mattigod, S.V., and Jackson, D.R., Inorganic and organic constituents in fossil fuel combustion residues, Electric Power Research Institute, EA-5176, 1987.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Weber, W. J., Physico-Chemical Processes for Water Quality Control. WileyInterscience, New York, NY, 1972.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Hajarnavis
    • 1
  • K. S. Sajwan
    • 2
  • S. Paramasivam
    • 2
  • C. S. Chetty
    • 2
  • G. R. Reddy
    • 2
  1. 1.National Environmental Engineering Research InstituteNagpurIndia
  2. 2.Marine, Environmental Sciences and Biotechnology Research CenterSavannah State UniversitySavannahUSA

Personalised recommendations