Adsorption and mechanistic study for phosphate removal by rice husk-derived biochar functionalized with Mg/Al-calcined layered double hydroxides via co-pyrolysis

Seon Yong Lee, Jae Woo Choi, Kyung Guen Song, Keunsu Choi, Young Jae Lee, Kyung Won Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


Direct or indirect emissions of phosphate from point or non-point sources into aquatic ecosystem may pose serious adverse risks to human life and environmental sustainability. Owing to their environmental and economic benefits, biochar-based adsorption processes have recently emerged as an ideal approach. However, the surface of biochar is normally negatively charged, thus limiting its binding affinity toward anionic contaminants. Herein, in order to address this weakness and further improve adsorption performance, we developed rice husk (RH)-derived biochar functionalized with Mg/Al-calcined layered double hydroxides (RHB/MgAl-CLDHs) via the co-pyrolysis of MgAl-LDH preloaded RH, and we examined its phosphate adsorption properties in aqueous environments. Multiple analyses and phosphate adsorption experiments revealed that the Mg:Al molar ratio (2:1–5:1) and co-pyrolysis temperature (300–700 °C) control the physicochemical properties of synthesized samples and their phosphate adsorption affinities. The molar ratio affects the charge density, whereas the co-pyrolysis temperature determines the surface functionality and porosity. Specifically, RHB/MgAl-CLDHs(2:1/500) (molar ratio = 2:1, co-pyrolysis temperature = 500 °C) exhibited the highest phosphate removal of 97.6% due to the conversion of RH into biochar, decomposition of interlayer water/nitrate, transformation of LDH structures to mixed metal oxides (layered double oxides), and improved porosity, favoring stronger adsorption and intercalation of phosphate. Spectroscopic solid-phase analyses demonstrated that the adsorption mechanism involves the “memory effect” and the formation of both outer- and inner-sphere surface complexes via attractive electrostatic interactions and monodentate/bidentate complexations. In conclusion, considering its high selectivity and excellent recyclability, RHB/MgAl-CLDHs(2:1/500) is a promising material for mitigating eutrophication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107209
JournalComposites Part B: Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by a National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (No. CAP-18-07-KICT ) and an institutional program grant (No. 2E29660 ) from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Adsorption
  • Biochar
  • Mg/Al calcined layered double hydroxides
  • One-step functionalization
  • Phosphate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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