Abstract of PhD Thesis

Development of a seaweed-based fixed-bed sorption column for the removal of metals in a waste stream

Adil Bakir, Waterford Institute of Technology (2010) - Thesis Abstract

Three different species of non-living seaweeds biomass (Fucus vesiculosus, Polysiphonia lanosa and Ulva lactuca) and a seaweed waste product derived from Ascophyllum nodosum (referred to as WAP) were studied for the biosorption of single and combined heavy metals (Ni(II), Zn(II), Al(III) and Sb(III)). Very high biosorption rates were recorded for the removal of Ni(II), Zn(II) and Al(III) for WAP/agar blocks and Sb(III) for P. lanosa/agar blocks. An antagonistic effect was observed when Sb(III) was mixed with the other metals leading to a reduction in uptake. However, most of Sb(III) was removed by dead biomass of P. lanosa/agar. Sorption isotherm studies as well as an investigation of the antagonistic effects of Sb(III) on the sorption of the other metals were also carried out. WAP/agar blocks were used to test a laboratory scale fixed bed sorption column. Both short and long term studies were investigated. COMSOL software was used to generate models to predict breakthrough curves and simulate biosorption performance.