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Comparison of activated carbon and low-cost adsorbents for removal of 2,4-dichlorophenol from wastewater using Aspen Adsorption and response surface methodology

Yasir, Hassnain A.; Zein, Sharif H.; Holliday, Mathew C.; Jabbar, Khalaf J.; Ahmed, Usama; Jalil, A. A.


Hassnain A. Yasir

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Dr Sharif Zein
Senior Fellow HEA| Reader in Biorefinery Processes and Reaction Engineering| PI of Bioref Group

Mathew C. Holliday

Khalaf J. Jabbar

Usama Ahmed

A. A. Jalil


In this paper, the adsorption of the chlorinated organic compound, 2,4-dichlorophenol, using activated carbon (AC), bagasse fly ash (BFA) and rice husk fly ash (RHFA) in a packed bed column was simulated using Aspen Adsorption software. The purpose of this study was to demonstrate the effectiveness of simulation software for identifying alternative low-cost adsorbents and optimising the adsorption process. The effect of process parameters such as initial concentration, bed height and inlet feed flow rate were evaluated using breakthrough curves. It was shown that the longest breakthrough times were at a higher bed height of 3 m and lower flow rate of 2 m3/hr and concentration had no effect on breakthrough time. After optimisation using response surface methodology, the AC, BFA and RHFA had a breakthrough time of 534, 426 and 209 s, respectively. This shows the potential of BFA as a potential alternative for AC for the adsorption of 2,4-dichlorophenol and shows RHFA to be a relatively poor adsorbent in comparison. The economic evaluation illustrates that the overall cost of wastewater treatment with BFA and RHFA is lower than AC. The cost for the BFA and RHFA adsorbents is only a handling charge, but the cost for using AC adsorbent is £10,603/year. Therefore, the company can produce 17,520 m3/year of fresh water from the adsorbent and save £87,600/year. Therefore, it was concluded that BFA had a slightly weaker adsorption efficiency than AC but was more cost effective, allowing it to be more affordable and increasing its availability.


Yasir, H. A., Zein, S. H., Holliday, M. C., Jabbar, K. J., Ahmed, U., & Jalil, A. A. (2023). Comparison of activated carbon and low-cost adsorbents for removal of 2,4-dichlorophenol from wastewater using Aspen Adsorption and response surface methodology. Environmental Technology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 16, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 14, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jul 7, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jul 11, 2023
Journal Environmental Technology (United Kingdom)
Print ISSN 0959-3330
Electronic ISSN 1479-487X
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Biomass; Bagasse fly ash; Rice husk fly ash economic evaluation breakthrough time; Capital expenditure (CAPEX); Operation expenditure (OPEX)
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Copyright Statement
© 2023 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.

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