• biosorption;
  • nickel;
  • Ceiba pentandra hulls;
  • isotherms;
  • kinetics


The removal of Ni(II) from aqueous solutions using biomass prepared from Ceiba pentandra hulls powder modified with citric acid treatment (CAMCPH) has been studied by batch method. The biosorbent was characterised before and after citric acid modification using SEM, FT-IR and XRD. Experimental parameters that influence the biosorption of Ni(II), such as pH, biosorbent dose, contact time and initial concentration of metal ion have been investigated. The adsorption of Ni(II) increased with increase in contact time and reached equilibrium within 50 min. The maximum removal of Ni(II) was observed at pH 5.0. The kinetic data were analysed using three adsorption kinetic models: the pseudo-first, second-order kinetics and intra-particle diffusion. The results showed that the pseudo-second-order model fits the experimental data very well. The equilibrium data were analysed using Langmuir, Freundlich and Dubinin–Radushkevich isotherm models. Langmuir model provided the best correlation for the adsorption of Ni(II) by CAMCPH and the monolayer biosorption capacity for Ni(II) removal was 34.34 mg/g. Desorption experiments were carried out using HCl solution and the recovery of the metal ion from CAMCPH was found 98%. Desorption experiments showed the feasibility of regeneration of the biosorbent for further use after treating with dilute HCl. © 2011 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering