Turn corn waste into activated carbon filtered water

Researchers from the University of California have successfully developed activated carbon from corn residue capable of filtering 98% of water pollutants.

Maize is the top US agricultural product but is also one of the most wasteful agricultural crops. Most of the stalks, leaves, corn husks and the corncobs become waste. They are of little use for commercial or industrial purposes other than for burning.

In a new study published in the journal ACS Omega, engineers from the University of California at Riverside (UC Riverside) led by assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering Kandis Leslie Abdul-Aziz have found a way to utilize this abundant source of agricultural residues to produce Activated carbon production helps to treat polluted water, bringing economic value.

Instead of using traditional combustion methods, the team found that treating corn waste with hot compressed water, like hydrothermal carbonization, allows the creation of an activated carbon with a high surface area. with larger pores. These properties help carbon absorb more vanillin, a common pollutant in water. Practical tests have proven they are capable of filtering vanillin up to 98%.

“I believe that as engineers we should be at the forefront of creating new approaches to convert waste into high-value materials, fuels and chemicals, while minimizing impact. harm to the environment, “said Abdul-Aziz.

Co-author Mark Gale, a UC Riverside alumnus and now PhD student at Riverside City University, adds that the creation of such biochar does not only add value to the bio-industry. it also helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and contributes to climate change.

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