Environmental Progress

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Alginate (a biopolymer from kelp and some bacterial strains) is known to absorb copper favorably in the presence of other cations. In this work, the feasibility of using a 2-liter batch three-phase (air/liquid/alginate gel) loop fluidized bed reactor to polish water containing 10–150 ppm dissolved copper was investigated. Three methods were tested: (1) Calcium alginate spheres, prepared by dispensing sodium alginate (3.2 wt. % in water) into a 0.05 M calcium nitrate solution, were used as the absorbent, (2) the alginate spheres were formed in situ by dispensing the sodium alginate solution directly into the reactor fluid, and (3) same as (2) except that a trace amount of EDTA was added to the alginate solution. Batch absorption data showed that Method 3 yielded the best result; the concentration of dissolved copper was successfully reduced from 140 ppm to 10 ppm with 3.2 g sodium alginate and 0.2 g EDTA used. However, when the initial concentration was below 40 ppm, both Method 2 and Method 3 are not recommended because the concentration of dissolved copper was too low to allow in situ formation of alginate spheres. Method 1 was found to be useful for treating water containing 10 ppm dissolved copper. But the competition from calcium seriously affected the effective capacity of the alginate for copper. The application of the classical shell progressive model to describe the absorption kinetics was discussed.




Jang. L.K., W. Brand, M. Resong, W. Maineri, and G.G. Geesey, "Feasibility of Using Alginate to Absorb Dissolved Copper from Aqueous Media," Environmental Progress, 9:269-274 (1990).
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