Removal of anionic surfactant from aqueous solutions by adsorption onto biochars: characterisation, kinetics, and mechanism

J. I. Bautista Quispe, L. C. Campos, O. Mašek, A. Bogush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biochar, a waste biomass-derived adsorbent, holds promise for decentralised wastewater treatment. However, limited research exists on its efficacy in adsorbing anionic surfactants in wastewater. To address this, the adsorption of sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS), a common anionic surfactant, was studied using various biochar types: rice husk biochar (RH-550 and RH-700), wheat straw biochar (WS-550 and WS-700) produced at 550°C and 700°C, wood-based biochar (OB), and activated carbon (AC) as a control. The study investigated the impact of pH (3–9), adsorbent loading (1–10 g/L), adsorbent size (<0.5–2.5 mm), contact time (5–180 min), and initial concentration (50–200 mg/L) on SDS removal. Under optimised conditions (100 mg/L SDS, 4 g/L adsorbent, 1–2 mm particle size, pH 8.3, and 180 min contact time), maximum SDS removals were RH-550 (78%), RH-700 (82.4%), WS-550 (89.5%), WS-700 (90.4%), AC (97%), and OB (88.4%). Among the tested adsorbent materials, WS-550 exhibited the highest SDS adsorption capacity at 66.23 mg/g compared to AC (80.65 mg/g), followed by RH-550 (49.75 mg/g), OB (45.87 mg/g), RH-700 (43.67 mg/g), and WS-700 (42.74 mg/g). SDS adsorption followed a pseudo-second-order kinetic model, indicating chemisorption on the adsorbent surface. The Freundlich isotherm model exhibited a better fit for the experimental data on SDS adsorption using all tested adsorbents except for RH-550. This study showed that biochars produced from agricultural and forestry residues are effective adsorbents for SDS in aqueous solutions and can be a promising sustainable and low-cost material for the treatment of greywater containing anionic surfactants (e.g. handwashing, laundry, kitchen, and bathroom greywaters).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages22
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Early online date22 Jan 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent


We would like to acknowledge the Centre for Agroecology, Water, and Resilience at Coventry University (UK) for the graduate scholarship grant (Project Code 13911-06). We want to acknowledge the UK Biochar Research Centre for providing biochar samples.


  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Water Science and Technology
  • General Medicine
  • Environmental Chemistry


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