Biosorption Technologies For Water Treatment
Free (open access)
A. Esau & F. Petersen
Ecological problems due to dispersion of heavy metals in natural environments, the high cost of conventional treatment technologies, as well as restrictive environmental legislations have led to investigations into alternate methods for heavy metal removal. Previous work conducted at the Cape Technikon on available biomaterials for heavy metal removal resulted in the identification of eklonia maxima (brown seaweed) as a possible biomaterial for industrial scale heavy metal removal. Preliminary batch column tests, using a similar configuration to a normal ion exchange column, showed that the biosorption process could effectively be utilised to remove up to 100% of heavy metals such as Pb and Cu with very fast kinetics. A comparative cost analysis of the biosorption process and other heavy metal removal processes, such as ion exchange, showed that the biomaterials used for the sorption process were much more cost effective than the conventional resins used in industry. Keywords: biosorption, kinetics, sorption, biomaterials, eklonia maxima, seaweed, heavy metal removal. 1 Introduction Industrial effluents from mining activities, agricultural runoff and industrial and domestic effluents are the main sources of heavy metal contamination of water. The most popular method for the removal of heavy metals from effluent is ionexchange using resin as an ion-exchanger. This is a relatively expensive method due to the high cost of the manufactured resin. An alternative for removing heavy metals from contaminated water is by using biomaterials instead of resin. There is a wide spectrum of biomaterials capable of accumulating metal ions in their cell walls. A study performed at the Cape Technikon on the comparative performance of four biomaterials for heavy metal removal identified eklonia
biosorption, kinetics, sorption, biomaterials, eklonia maxima, seaweed, heavy metal removal.