Production and characterisation of activated carbon and carbon nanotubes from potato peel waste and their application in heavy metal removal.

Ahmed I. Osman*, Jacob Blewitt, Jehad K. Abu-Dahrieh, Charlie Farrell, Ala’a H. Al-Muhtaseb, John Harrison, David W. Rooney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, activated carbon (AC) and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) were synthesised from potato peel waste (PPW). Different ACs were synthesised via two activation steps: firstly, with phosphoric acid (designated PP) and then using potassium hydroxide (designated PK). The AC produced after the two activation steps showed a surface area as high as 833 m2 g−1 with a pore volume of 0.44 cm3 g−1, where the raw material of PPW showed a surface area < 4 m2 g−1. This can help aid and facilitate the concept of the circular economy by effectively up-cycling and valorising waste lignocellulosic biomass such as potato peel waste to high surface area AC and subsequently, multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs). Consequently, MWCNTs were prepared from the produced AC by mixing it with the nitrogen-based material melamine and iron precursor, iron (III) oxalate hexahydrate. This produced hydrophilic multi-wall carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) with a water contact angle of θ = 14.97 °. Both AC and CNT materials were used in heavy metal removal (HMR) where the maximum lead absorption was observed for sample PK with a 84% removal capacity after the first hour of testing. This result signifies that the synthesis of these up-cycled materials can have applications in areas such as wastewater treatment or other conventional AC/CNT end uses with a rapid cycle time in a two-fold approach to improve the eco-friendly synthesis of such value-added products and the circular economy from a significant waste stream, i.e., PPW. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37228-37241
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number36
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019


  • Activated carbon
  • Biomass
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Multi-wall carbon nanotubes
  • Potato peel waste
  • Pyrolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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