Background: Sorption is considered an effective purification method for industrial wastewaters and is widely applied for the removal of several pollutants. Nevertheless, material costs, regeneration and disposal issues have propelled the search for low-cost biodegradable sorbents. Peat and sawdust are inexpensive, biodegradable and widely available sorbents which are mostly composed of lingocellulosic constituents. Cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin are compounds that have structures with a large amount of functional groups which are associated with good capacity to sorb cationic ions such as metals. Peat especially has been found to possess excellent sorption capacity in its natural state. Another important aspect is that these materials can be easily modified by the introduction of new functional groups. Modifications can be applied to increase the sorption capacity for cationic ions or to enable the binding of anionic ions.

Issue: Although several studies have reported substantial potential of natural or modified bio-based sorbents for mining water purification; there is a lack of pilot scale demonstration of research findings and possible application methodology. Furthermore, the influence of cold temperatures in sorption rates and capacity and the possibilities of material recovery have not been fully evaluated.

Research and methodology: The research work aims to address the clear gap which exists between the evaluation/development of bio-based sorbents and their application. The suitability of biosorbents (peat and sawdust) for the purification of mining wastewater will be evaluated based on laboratory experiments and pilot tests.

Tiina Leiviskä
Senior Researcher
Chemical Process Engineering
Elisangela Heiderscheidt
Post-Doctoral Researcher
Water Resources and Environmental Engineering


Last updated: 28.2.2020