Date of Completion

Fall 12-15-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Ioulia Valla

Honors Major

Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering


Activated carbons are often used to remove phenol from wastewater. However, they are usually derived from expendable resources, such as coal and have high regeneration costs. In this work, the adsorption of phenol on activated carbon derived from food waste was studied to understand its kinetics, determine its maximum adsorption capacity, and compare it to commercial activated carbons. Adsorption experiments were performed at 298 K for 48 hours at various pHs and initial phenol concentrations. The adsorption data was then fit to the pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order, and intraparticle diffusion models to understand the kinetics and to the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models to determine the maximum adsorption capacity. The results show that the adsorption process on activated carbons derived from food waste is best described by the pseudo-second order and Langmuir models. The maximum adsorption capacity of these activated carbons is 46.30 mg/g, which is comparable to the value for commercial activated carbons. This work shows that activated carbon derived from food waste is a potential alternative to commercial activated carbons in wastewater treatment.