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Water quality and public health impacts of animal manure produced at large concentrated animal facilities prompted the need for viable solutions for their conversion and reuse. Current approaches to dispose of raw manure such as lagoon storage, anaerobic digestion and composting or transformation into soil additives and amenders can still pose associated health and environmental risks and produce low value alternatives. The conversion of animal biosolids to value added products, such as activated carbons for environmental remediation, could be a profitable alternative. We conducted experiments on the feasibility of converting pelletized poultry biosolids to activated carbon. The process involved pyrolyzing a pelletized sample of poultry biosolids (stabilized/disinfected manure plus wood chips as a binder) under nitrogen at 700°C for one hour, followed by steam activation at 800°C under nitrogen for a period ranging from 30 minutes to 120 minutes. Physical properties (yield and surface area) and adsorptive properties (copper adsorption) of the biosolids-based steam-activated carbon were determined. Carbon yield varied from 18% to 43% and was dependent on activation time and quantity of steam used as activant. Suface area ranged from 9 m2/g – 449 m2/g and was also dependent on activation time and the quantity of activant. Copper ion adsorption was of particular interest because copper is one of the metals of environmental concern. It is toxic to many animal species and is ubiquitous in the environment. Poultry biosolids-based carbons adsorbed from 0.3 to 1.42 mmoles Cu2+/g carbon. The highest adsorption occurred at 60 minutes steam activation regardless of the quantity of steam delivered. We believe the conversion of poultry biosolids to activated carbons and their use for metal ion remediation represents a novel approach to the utilization of poultry biosolids.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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