Granular activated carbon adsorption process for removing trichloroethylene from groundwater



Batch adsorption capacity experiments and continuous flow breakthrough experiments were conducted to compare the effectiveness of seven granular activated carbons (GACs) in removing trichloroethylene (TCE) from groundwater. The order of GACs' adsorptive capacities for TCE was the same as their phenol numbers (indicator for <1 nm micropores). A small amount of methanol (0.05% v/v) did not affect the pure water TCE capacities, which were notably reduced by the small organic constituents of tap water. The breakthrough results show low utilization of the available adsorptive capacity due to both slow mass transport and the need to achieve a high degree of TCE removal, and that the serial bed mode of treatment is cost effective because a very high capacity utilization can be attained. The low-cost, environmental friendly bamboo GAC is attractive as its competitive TCE capacity was readily used in actual treatment because of its favorable pore structure. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011