Removal of Colour and COD in Biologically pre-treated Leachate using Activated Carbon from Corn Cobs

Document Type : Original Research Paper


School of Energy and Environment, University of Phayao, Phayao, Thailand


Activated carbon was prepared from corn cob agricultural waste with different impregnation ratios and pyrolysis times. The optimal adsorbent prepared using at 4:1 ZnCl2:corn cob char ratio at a temperature of 800 °C for 180 min provided the maximum Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area, total pore volume and average pore width, with values of 912.47 m2/g, 0.52 cm3/g and 22.61 Å, respectively. ZnCl2 was effective in creating well-developed pores on the surface of the activated carbon. The removal efficiency and adsorption capacity of the colour and the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of the biologically pre-treated leachate were examined utilizing the best corn cob activated carbon (CCAC) with varying CCAC dosages, contact times and initial pH values. The greatest colour and COD removal effectiveness were 88.6±0.2% and 83.7±0.4%, respectively, at the optimum CCAC dosage of 12 g for 40 min with an initial pH value of 10. In addition, maximum adsorption capacities were achieved for colour and COD of 10.3±0.02 mg/g and 12.6±0.05 mg/g, respectively, under the same conditions. The kinetics of colour and COD adsorption fitted very well with pseudo-second-order kinetic model. The CCAC performs well as an adsorbent for removing colour and COD in biologically pre-treated leachate.


APHA, AWWA, and WEF. 2017. Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater. 23nd ed. (Washington, DC: APHA)
Armonio, J. V. M., Caragdag, I. J., Escorpizo, J. A., Miranda, K. M., Raymundo, A. J. and Roque, E. (2019). Production of activated carbon from corn cobs and mango kernels via H3PO4 activation and mediated hydrothermal treatment. MATEC Web Conf., 268; 1-3.
Aziz, H. A., Hin, L. T., Adlan, M. N., Zahari, M. S., Alias, S., Abufoul, A. A. M., Selamat, R. S., Bashir, M. J. K., Yusoff, M. S. and Umar, M. (2011). Removal of high-strength colour from semi-aerobic stabilized landfill leachate via adsorption on limestone and activated carbon mixture. Res.J.Chem.Sci., 1(6); 1-7.
Azmi, N. B., Bashir, M. J. K., Sethupathi, S., Wei, L. J. and Aun, N. C. (2015). Stabilized landfill leachate treatment by sugarcane bagasse derived activated carbon for removal of color, COD and NH3-N–Optimization of preparation conditions by RSM. J. Environ. Chem. Eng., 3; 1287-1294.
Bagheri, N. and Abedi, J. (2011). Adsorption of methane on corn cobs based activated carbon. Chem. Eng. Res. Des., 89; 2038-2043.
Biswas, B., Pandey, N., Bisht, Y., Singh, R., Kumar, J. and Bhaskar, T. (2017). Pyrolysis of agricultural biomass residues: comparative study of corn cob, wheat straw, rice straw and rice husk. Bioresour. Technol., 237; 57-63.
Buah, W., MacCarthy, J. and Ndur, S. (2016). Conversion of corn cobs waste into activated carbons for adsorption of heavy metals from minerals processing wastewater. IJEPP, 4(4); 98-103.
Ching, S. L., Yusoff, M. S., Aziz, H. A. and Umar, M. (2011). Influence of impregnation ratio on coffee ground activated carbon as landfill leachate adsorbent for removal of total iron and orthophosphate. Desalination, 279; 225-234.
Christica, I. S., Muchlisyam and Julia, R. (2018). Activated carbon utilization from corn cob (Zea mays) as a heavy metal adsorbent in industrial waste. AJPRD, 6(5); 1-4.
Duan, X.-L., Yuan, C.-G., Jing, T.-T. and Yuan, X.-D. (2019). Removal of elemental mercury using large surface area micro-porous corn cob activated carbon by zinc chloride activation. Fuel, 239; 830-840.
El-Sayed, G. O., Yehia, M. M. and Asaad, A. A. (2 0 1 4). Assessment of activated carbon prepared from corncob by chemical activation with phosphoric acid. Water Resour. Ind., 7-8; 66-75.
Erabee, I. K., Ahsan, A., Jose, B., Aziz, M. M. A., Ng, A. W. M., Idrus, S. and Daud, N. N. N. (2018). Adsorptive treatment of landfill leachate using activated carbon modified with three different methods. KSCE J. Civ. Eng., 22(4); 1083-1095.
Ghani, Z. A., Yusoff, M. S., Zaman, N. Q., Zamri, M. F. M. A. and Andas, J. (2017). Optimization of preparation conditions for activated carbon from banana pseudo-stem using response surface methodology on removal of color and COD from landfill leachate. Waste Manage., 62; 177-187.
Ghosh, G. C., Chakraborty, T. K., Zaman, S., Nahar, M. N. and Kabir, A. H. M. E. (2020). Removal of methyl orange dye from aqueous solution by a low-cost activated carbon prepared from Mahagoni (Swietenia mahagoni) bark. Pollution, 6(1); 171-184.
Hassan, M., Pous, N., Xie, B., Colprim, J., Balaguer, M. D. and Puig, S. (2017). Employing microbial electrochemical technology-driven electro-fenton oxidation for the removal of recalcitrant organics from sanitary landfill leachate. Bioresour. Technol., 243; 949-956.
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). (1972). Manual of symbols and terminology for physicochemical quantities and units, Appendix II: definitions, terminology and symbols in colloid and surface chemistry. Pure Appl. Chem., 31; 578-638.
Kaźmierczak, J., Nowicki, P. and Pietrzak, R. (2013). Sorption properties of activated carbons obtained from corn cobs by chemical and physical activation. Adsorption, 19; 273-281.
Kumar, A. and Jena, H. M. (2015). High surface area microporous activated carbons prepared from Fox nut (Euryale ferox) shell by zinc chloride activation. Appl. Surf. Sci., 356; 753-761.
Louis, N. S. M. (2015). Activated carbon from corn cob for treating dye waste water. Environ Sci Ind J., 10(3); 88-95.
Milenković, D. D., Bojić, A. L. and Veljković, V. B. (2013). Ultrasound-assisted adsorption of 4-dodecylbenzene sulfonate from aqueous solutions by corn cob activated carbon. Ultrason. Sonochem., 20(3); 955-962.
Montero, A. A. G., Serrano, E. V. P. and Montiel, J. I. P. (2019). Sanitary landfill leachate treatment with double chamber anaerobic reactor in series with constructed wetland. Environ. Process., 6; 695-712.
Naveen, B. P. and Malik, R. K. (2019). Assessment of contamination potential of leachate from municipal solid waste landfill sites for metropolitan cities in India. Pollution, 5(2); 313-322.
Nethaji, S., Sivasamy, A. and Mandal, A.B. (2013). Preparation and characterization of corn cob activated carbon coated with nano-sized magnetite particles for the removal of Cr(VI). Bioresour. Technol., 134; 94-100.
Njoku, V. O. and Hameed, B. H. (2011). Preparation and characterization of activated carbon from corncob by chemical activation with H3PO4 for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid adsorption. Chem. Eng. J., 173; 391-399.
Ramli, S. F., Aziz, H. A., Omar, F. M., Yusoff, M.S., Halim, H., Kamaruddin, M. A., Ariffin, K. S. and Hung, Y.-T. (2021). Reduction of COD and highly coloured mature landfill leachate by tin tetrachloride with rubber seed and polyacrylamide. Water, 13; 1-18.
Rattanapan, S., Srikram, J. and Kongsune, P. (2017). Adsorption of methyl orange on coffee grounds activated carbon. Energy Procedia, 138; 949-954.
Salem, Z. B., Capelli. N., Grisey. E., Baurand, P. E., Ayadi, H. and Aleya, L. (2014). First evidence of fish genotoxicity induced by heavy metals from landfill leachates:The advantage of using the RAPD-PCR technique. Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf., 101; 90-96.
Shehzad, A., Bashir, M. J. K., Sethupathi S and Lim J.-W. (2015). An overview of heavily polluted landfill leachate treatment using food waste as an alternative and renewable source of activated carbon. Process Saf. Environ. Prot., 98; 309-318.
Sing, W. S. W., Evrett, D. H., Haul, R. A. W., Moscou, L., Pierotti, R. A., Rouqerol, J. and Siemieniewska, T. (1985). Reporting physisorption data for gas/solid systems with special surface area and porosity. Pure Appl. Chem., 57; 603-619.
Song, M., Jin, B., Xiao, R., Yang, L., Wu, Y., Zhong, Z. and Huang, Y. (2013). The comparison of two activation techniques to prepare activated carbon from corn cob. Biomass Bioenergy, 48; 250-256.
Sun, Y. and Webley, P. A. (2010). Preparation of activated carbons from corncob with large specific surface area by a variety of chemical activators and their application in gas storage. Chem. Eng. J., 162; 883-892.
Sych, N. V., Trofymenko, S. I., Poddubnaya O. I., Tsyba, M. M., Sapsay, V. I., Klymchuk, D. O. and Puziy, A. M. (2012). Porous structure and surface chemistry of phosphoric acid activated carbon from corncob. Appl. Surf. Sci., 261; 75-82.
Taylor, R. and Allen, A. (2006). Waste disposal and landfill: potential hazards and information needs. (In O. Schmoll, G. Howard, J. Chilton & I. Chorus (Eds.), Protecting groundwater for health: managing the quality of drinking water resources (pp. 339-362). London: IWA Publishing.)
Wang, F., Dang, Y.-Q., Tian, X., Harrington, S. and Ma, Y.-Q. (2018). Fabrication of magnetic activated carbons from corn cobs using the pickle liquor from the surface treatment of iron and steel. New Carbon Mater., 33(4); 303-309.
Yaseen, M., Ullah, S., Ahmad, W., Subhan, S. and Subhan, F. (2021). Fabrication of Zn and Mn loaded activated carbon derived from corn cobs for the adsorptive desulfurization of model and real fuel oils. Fuel, 284; 1-14.