A Review on Superadsorbents with Adsorption Capacity ≥ 1000 mg g−1 and Perspectives on Their Upscaling for Water/Wastewater Treatment

Kannan Karunakaran, Muhammad Usman*, Mika Sillanpää

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


An adsorbent’s properties, its adsorption chemistry, and treatment efficiency are all interlinked for water/wastewater treatment. This critical review focuses on superadsorbents possessing ultrahigh adsorption capacities of ≥1000 mg g−1 for an efficient water/wastewater treatment. Using Google Scholar, we reviewed about 63 prominent studies (2017–2022) on superadsorbents to evaluate their preparation, characteristics, adsorption chemistries, and mechanistic interactions in the removal of aqueous inorganic and organic contaminants. The major contribution of this article is to present a series of perspectives on the potential upscaling of these adsorbents in real-scale water/wastewater treatment. The main findings are as follows: (1) the current literature analysis suggests that superadsorbents hold reasonable promise to become useful materials in water treatment, (2) there is still a need to perform extensive pilot-scale adsorption studies using superadsorbents under quasi-real systems representing complex real aqueous systems, and (3) the technoeconomic analysis of their upscaling in industrial-scale water/wastewater treatments still constitutes a major gap which calls for further studies. Moreover, the mass production and effective application of these superadsorbents are the major issues for real-scale water treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16927
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022


  • adsorption
  • pollutant removal
  • superadsorbent
  • wastewater treatment
  • water pollutants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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