Scientific article
Open access

Nanoplastics adsorption and removal efficiency by granular activated carbon used in drinking water treatment process

Published inScience of the Total Environment, vol. 791, no. 148175
Publication date2021

In this study Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) used in drinkingwater treatment processes is evaluated for its capacity to adsorb and remove polystyrene (PS) nanoplastics. Batch experiments are conducted in ultrapure and surface water from Lake Geneva, currently used as drinking water resources. Equilibrium and kinetic studies are conducted to understand adsorption mechanisms and limiting factors. Our results show that in ultrapure water the adsorption and removal of PS nanoplastics are mainly due to electrostatic interactions between the positively charged nanoplastics and negatively charged GAC. It is found that the adsorption capacity increases with nanoplastic concentration with a maximum adsorption capacity of 2.20 mg/g. The adsorption kinetics follows a pseudo-second-order model and indicates that the intra-particle diffusion is not the only ratecontrolling step. The Langmuir isotherm indicates that nanoplastics are adsorbed as a homogeneous monolayer onto the GAC surfacewith a maximummonolayer adsorption capacity of 2.15mg/g in agreementwith the experimental value. In Lake Geneva water the adsorption capacity and removal efficiency of PS nanoplastics are found three times higher than in ultrapure water and increase significantly with increasing PS nanoplastics concentration with a maximum adsorption capacity of 6.33 mg/g. This improvement in adsorption capacity is due to the presence of Dissolved Organic Matter (DOM), resulting in PS surface charge modification, presence of divalent ions making possible the adsorption of PS-DOM complexes, and, aggregation of PS nanoplastics. The kinetic pseudo-second-order and intra-particle diffusion provide a good correlation with the experimental data. In contrast, neither Langmuir nor Freundlich isotherms describe in a satisfactoryway the adsorption of nanoplastics by GAC. This study reveals that GAC produced from renewable sources can be considered as a moderate adsorbent for the removal of PS nanoplastics in water treatment plants and that the presence of DOM and cationic species play a major role.

  • Nanoplastics
  • Granular Activated Carbon
  • Adsorption mechanisms
  • Removal efficiency
  • Drinking water
  • Autre - Fowa SSIGE SIG 017-16
Citation (ISO format)
RAMIREZ ARENAS, Lina Marcela et al. Nanoplastics adsorption and removal efficiency by granular activated carbon used in drinking water treatment process. In: Science of the Total Environment, 2021, vol. 791, n° 148175. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.148175
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0048-9697

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Creation06/15/2021 12:17:00 PM
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