Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Ocean, Coastal, and Earth Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. James Jihoon Kang

Second Advisor

Dr. Chu-Lin Cheng

Third Advisor

Dr. Jason Parsons


This study investigated the performance of biochar materials as adsorbents to remove Pb and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) in aqueous solutions. Batch adsorption and column experiment packed with biochar and geomaterials (pumice) in 1:1 volume ratio was evaluated to address the efficacy of biochar in removing Pb while only batch adsorption was employed for PCB removal with biochar materials. Overall, PT biochars performed the best (42–53 mg g−1) followed by BE biochars (10–32 mg g−1) and AB biochars (17–27 mg g−1) while high temperature biochars were favored in terms of maximum Pb adsorption capacity. Column Pb breakthrough showed similar results, with PT biochars being greatest in retardation factor (39–130.8) compared to AB biochars (10–54.9) and BE biochars (8–42). Low temperature biochars, however, were favored in removing PCB and AB400 was the most effective (63 % removal). Oxygen-containing functional groups and volatile compounds in the biochar materials were the key factors in affecting Pb and PCB removal from water. This study suggests that a mixed adsorbent containing high pyrolysis biochar (e.g., PT) and low pyrolysis biochar (e.g., AB) is likely to be effective in removing Pb and PCB simultaneously from aqueous solutions.


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