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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Process Parameters Optimization, Characterization, and Application of KOH-Activated Norway Spruce Bark Graphitic Biochars for Efficient Azo Dye Adsorption

Guy, Marine; Mathieu, Manon; Anastopoulos, Ioannis P.; Martinez, Maria G.; Rousseau, Frederic; Dotto, Guilherme L.; de Oliveira, Helinando P.; Lima, Eder C.; Thyrel, Mikael; Larsson, Sylvia H.; dos Reis, Glaydson S.


In this work, Norway spruce bark was used as a precursor to prepare activated biochars (BCs) via chemical activation with potassium hydroxide (KOH) as a chemical activator. A Box–Behnken design (BBD) was conducted to evaluate and identify the optimal conditions to reach high specific surface area and high mass yield of BC samples. The studied BC preparation parameters and their levels were as follows: pyrolysis temperature (700, 800, and 900 °C), holding time (1, 2, and 3 h), and ratio of the biomass: chemical activator of 1: 1, 1.5, and 2. The planned BBD yielded BC with extremely high SSA values, up to 2209 m2·g−1. In addition, the BCs were physiochemically characterized, and the results indicated that the BCs exhibited disordered carbon structures and presented a high quantity of O-bearing functional groups on their surfaces, which might improve their adsorption performance towards organic pollutant removal. The BC with the highest SSA value was then employed as an adsorbent to remove Evans blue dye (EB) and colorful effluents. The kinetic study followed a general-order (GO) model, as the most suitable model to describe the experimental data, while the Redlich–Peterson model fitted the equilibrium data better. The EB adsorption capacity was 396.1 mg·g−1. The employment of the BC in the treatment of synthetic effluents, with several dyes and other organic and inorganic compounds, returned a high percentage of removal degree up to 87.7%. Desorption and cyclability tests showed that the biochar can be efficiently regenerated, maintaining an adsorption capacity of 75% after 4 adsorption–desorption cycles. The results of this work pointed out that Norway spruce bark indeed is a promising precursor for producing biochars with very promising properties.


biomass; porous material; Evans blue dye; design of experiments; kinetic and equilibrium study

Published in

2022, Volume: 27, number: 2, article number: 456