The removal of Co(II) ions from aqueous media was done using three types of biochars obtained from algae waste biomass, mustard waste biomass, and soy waste biomass. The biochar samples were obtained by pyrolysis of waste biomass resulted from biofules production, at relative low temperature (600–650 °C), and this procedure can be considered a suitable alternative to reduce the volume of such waste. FTIR spectra recorded for each type of biochar reveal the presence of several functional groups that can be used as binding sites for Co(II) retention. The batch biosorption experiments were performed as a function of initial Co(II) ions concentration and contact time, at constant solution pH (5.0), sorbent dose (8.0 g/L), and room temperature (25 ± 1 °C). The sorption experiments showed that the Co(II) ions retention reaches the equilibrium in maximum 60 min, and the maximum sorption capacity follows the order: Mustard biochar (MBC—24.21 mg/g) < soy biochar (SBC—19.61 mg/g) < algae biochar (ABC—11.90 mg/g). The modeling of experimental data proves that the retention of Co(II) ions from aqueous solution occurs through electrostatic interactions, and that the sorption process takes place until a monolayer coverage is formed on the outer surface of the biochar. This information is very useful in the design of a suitable desorption system. The desorption results showed that by treating the biochar samples loaded with Co(II) ions with 0.1 mol/L HNO3
solution, over 92% of Co(II) ions are desorbed and can be recovered, and the biochar samples can be used in at least three sorption/desorption cycles. All the experimental observations sustain the potential use of biochar obtained from different types of waste biomass as a promising alternative sorbent for the removal of Co(II) ions from aqueous media.
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