Discipline: Ecology Environmental and Earth Sciences
Subcategory: Pollution/Toxic Substances/Waste
Cecilia B. Frias-Flores - University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras
Co-Author(s): Arnulfo Rojas-Perez and Liz M. Diaz-Vazquez, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR
Water pollution is a concerning topic due to the depletion of clean water sources. Algae’s ability to absorb contaminants has been studied but previous researches but few have been able to combine the energy production and its ability to produce renewable energy. Hydrothermal liquefaction is a process that employs the use of subcritical water to produce bio-fuels. This process also produces bio-char from the biomass, that is viewed as potential pollutant. This biochar that is produced has the same absorption capability as the raw algae and can potentially eliminate contaminants like explosives and heavy metals from water. In this research we employed the bio-char obtained from the HTL of the macro-alga Osmundaria Obtusiloba in the estuarine water purification process. Samples from the bio-char were activated using a reflux of 10% v/v solution of H3PO4 for 24 hours. Afterwards, it was washed until neutral for three days, and dried at 65°C. The activated char was analyzed using FTIR-ATR, SEM, and EDS. To study the absorption capacity of the char, it was first employed on standard solutions of DNT and TNT ranging from 0 to 500 ppm concentrations. Environmental samples were collected from the San Juan bay Estuary and analyzed using HPLC, GCMS, and FTIR-ATR. The activated char (0.5000g) was loaded into SPE tubes and 30 mL samples of water were filtered. The filtered water was alkalized for trace elements using HPLC and GC-MS. Finally, we were able to produce 11.42% m/m of activated char was recovered from the activation process, and it was proven effective in the elimination of environmental contaminants that were initially found in the samples.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Puerto Rico Center for Environmental Neuroscience, Center for Research Excellence in Science and Technology.
Faculty Advisor: Liz M. Diaz-Vazquez, email@example.com
Role: During this research my responsibilities included producing and activating the biochar and the mentioned analysis. I also was in charge of gathering environmental samples like water and algae.