Eliminación de compuestos causantes de olores mediante adsorbentes/catalizadores obtenidos a partir de lodos de depuradora.

During the last years there has been an increase in the number of wastewater treatment plants arising after the implementation of regulatory policies focused on sustainable development of contemporary societies. A large quantity of sewage sludge is produced and in addition, some traditional disposal routes are coming under pressure and others are being phased out. Therefore, it is necessary to seek cost-effective and innovate solutions to the problem incurred by sewage sludge disposal. Nowadays, the tendency in Europe is to use this residue to obtain energy by thermal treatments, such as incineration, pyrolysis and gasification, though during this treatment a residue that needs to be disposed is generated. Furthermore, the environmental problems prompted by odors are difficult to solve take considering the different origin and reasons for these bad smells. Bad smell in waste water treatment plants is produced basically by organic matter degradation. This thesis takes into account these two aspects. The aim of this work focuses on the revalorization of sewage sludge to obtain / prepare adsorbents / catalysts from various sewage-based precursors and their application in H2S and in NH3 abatement at ambient temperature. These two latter compounds are paradigmatic in odor related problems. The sewage sludge samples used in this study were obtained from three Spanish WWTPs located in Girona (SC, SB, SL). The influent of these selected facilities is mainly of domestic origin and differs in sludge treatment schemes. A detailed characterization of the solids under consideration is carried out, as a purpose to define the main differences. The techniques used to characterize precursors include chemical characterization (elemental analysis, ash content, pH determination, DRX, FT-IR, SEM / EDX), as well as their porosity characterization (physical adsorption of N2 and CO2). In the first part of the study we focused on dried samples that were subjected to different thermal treatments such as pyrolysis and gasification at different temperatures. The adsorbents/catalysts obtained were used for H2S removal. Afterwards, 12 samples were prepared from SL, 6 of them gasified between 600 - 1100 ºC and 6 pyrolysed at the same temperatures. The samples were characterized and used as an adsorbents for H2S removal. The results shown that we were able to obtain adsorbents with high removal efficiencies despite their low porosity development. These adsorption capacities values (x/M) are in the same range or even higher than x/M values from commercial active carbons (Centaur, Sorbalit). These high x/M values have been prompted to catalytic species such as dicalcium ferrite, identified by XRD. The second part of the study was focused on the preparation of adsorbents from these sewage sludge-based precursors (SB, SL) using different activation processes. Specifically, physical activation with CO2, H3PO4 activation and alkaline hydroxide activation were explored. It is worth noticing that, as far as we know, there are no previous studies in the literature dealing with the activation of sewage sludge by alkaline hydroxides (NaOH or KOH), whereas CO2 and H3PO4 have been scarcely used for the activation of this precursor. The results of the textural characterization of the materials prepared from physical activation by CO2 and chemical activation by H3PO4 show that, these precursors are not a suitable for the preparation of adsorbents by these two methods. Nevertheless, chemical activation by alkaline hydroxides can be a suitable method to develop porosity and surface areas higher than 1600 m2g-1 can be obtained from both sewage sludge precursors (SB, SL). An increase in the hydroxide: precursor ratio leads to an enhancement of the adsorption capacity of the adsorbents. The resultant materials were tested as adsorbents/catalyst for H2S abatement. The results shown that we are been able to obtain adsorbents from sludge-based materials with high surface areas but with relatively low adsorption capacities as a consequence of its acidic nature. NaOH was added to the adsorption bed to counteract the acidic nature of these materials. The x/M values obtained are higher than 450 mgg-1. In addition, some of these materials were used for NH3 removal being the results obtained comparable to those for commercial activated carbons x/M values, tested under similar experimental conditions. These "new" activated materials can be used as adsorbents for many environmental applications such as VOC, Hg removal, etc. 

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Laboratory of Chemical and Enviromental Engineering

Institut de Medi Ambient
Universitat de Girona
Campus Montilivi
17003 Girona

Parc Científic i Tecnològic de la UdG
Edifici Jaume Casademont, Porta B
Pic de Peguera, 15
17003 Girona
Tel. +34 972 41 98 59




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