Hamid, A., A. E. Wilson, H. A. Torbert, and D. Wang. 2023. Sorptive removal of phosphorus by flue gas desulfurization gypsum in batch and column systems. Chemosphere 320:138062.


Phosphorus (P) over-loading is often a central topic due to its linkage to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and its importance in wastewater treatment that has fueled immediate remediation attempts to reduce P loading from point (e.g., wastewater) and nonpoint sources (e.g., fertilizers). Conventional remediation techniques (e.g., filtration) are often expensive, ineffective, and difficult to implement at large scales. The flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum produced as an energy plant waste byproduct has recently been advocated as a physiochemical remediation strategy for P through sorptive removal. However, limited research is available on the practical applications of FGD gypsum for P removal from water. Herein, batch sorption experiments were performed to
investigate the sorptive removal efficiency of P by FGD gypsum under environmentally relevant P concentrations (0.01–0.25 mM). In parallel, fixed-bed column experiments packed with FGD gypsum were performed using elevated P concentrations (0.1–1.0 mM) to understand the scalability of FGD gypsum for large-scale practical applications. During batch experiments, P sorption equilibrium was reached within 24 h that includes an initially fast step (via boundary layer diffusion), followed by a slow rate-determining step (via intraparticle diffusion). P sorption kinetics followed the pseudo second-order kinetics, indicating chemisorption. P sorption at equilibrium can be simulated by both the Freundlich and Langmuir sorption isotherms. The Langmuir sorption isotherm
yielded a maximum sorption capacity (Qmax) of 36.1 mM kg 1. The fixed-bed column experimental results showed that sorption rate depends on the applied flow rate, irrespective of the tested P concentrations. Our findings can be extrapolated to evaluate the feasibility and scalability of FGD gypsum in removing P to counteract P runoff and mitigate HABs and P-loaded wastewater.

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