Continuous column adsorption of naphthenic acids from synthetic and real oil sands process-affected water (OSPW) using carbon-based adsorbents

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-518
Journal / PublicationChemosphere
Online published17 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


In this study, activated petroleum coke (APC) and commercial activated carbon (CAC) were used in a continuous adsorption column for removal of model naphthenic acids and organics from real oil sands process-affected water (OSPW). Diphenylacetic acid and 2-naphthoic acid, two model naphthenic acid (NA) compounds, were removed completely by the APC in a continuous column operation. Due to the complex nature of organics in OSPW, total organic carbon (TOC) was measured to determine the effectiveness of OSPW treatment by APC. The removal of TOC from OSPW at its natural pH 8 by APC was only 25%, whereas acidification at pH 4 followed by APC adsorption removed 96% of the initial TOC. When compared to a commercial activated carbon, the APC showed an average of 20% higher organics removal. The experimental breakthrough curves were better fitted by Thomas model in comparison to Adams-Bohart and Yoon-Nelson models. The regeneration of APC was conducted using methanol with 0.01 wt% NaOH (pH = 11.7) and a total of four cycles of adsorption and regeneration were conducted with marginal loss of adsorption sites. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Research Area(s)

  • Adsorption, Breakthrough curve modelling, Continuous column, Naphthenic acids, Oil-sands processaffected water, Petroleum coke

Citation Format(s)