COD and colour removal from molasses spent wash using activated carbon produced from bagasse fly ash of Matahara sugar factory, Oromiya region, Ethiopia

  • Jemal F. Nure
  • Nurelegne T. Shibeshi
  • Seyoum L. Asfaw
  • Wim Audenaert
  • Stijn W.H. Van Hulle
Keywords: adsorption, factorial design, distillery spent wash, melanoidins, optimization, COD and colour removal


The aim of this study was to investigate the removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and colour from a melanoidin solution using activated carbon produced from bagasse fly ash (BFA). Melanoidins are heterogeneous polymers and major contributors to the dark brown colour of molasses spent wash, which is an extensive cause of environment pollution. The surface area of the BFA was determined as 160.9 ± 2.8m²/g with 90% of particle less than 156.8 μm in size. Characterization of the BFA by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) showed the presence of hydroxyl and carbonyl functional groups, whereas X-ray diffraction analysis indicated its amorphous nature. Moreover, scanning electron microscopy analysis showed a heterogeneous and irregular shape of pores. Among the adsorption isotherm models analysed, the Freundlich model fitted best to the experimental data, indicating a maximum adsorptive capacity of 124.80 mg/g. The removal of COD and colour from a melanoidin solution with this activated carbon was carried out using an experimental design taking 4 factors into account. These were adsorbent dose, contact time, pH and initial COD concentration, with removal of COD and colour as response variables. COD reduction was influenced by initial COD concentration whereas colour removal was dominated by contact time, which was in line with the findings of principal component analysis . The maximum COD removal recorded was 61.6% at the optimum condition of adsorbent dose of 4 g in 100 mL, contact time of 4 h, pH 8 and initial COD concentration 6 000 mg/L, whereas the decolourization of melanoidin solution was 64% at adsorbent dose of 4 g, contact time 4 h, pH 3 and initial COD concentration 6 000 mg/L. Hence, activated BFA is a promising option for simultaneous removal of COD and colour from molasses spent wash under the stated conditions.

Keywords: adsorption; factorial design; distillery spent wash; melanoidins; optimization; COD and colour removal


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0378-4738