Regeneration of Granulated Spent Activated Carbon with 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene Using Thermally Activated Persulfate

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Chlorinated organic compounds (COCs) are persistent organic pollutants often found in groundwater near industrial sites or in industrial wastewaters. Adsorption into activated carbon is a common strategy to remediate these waters, but spent activated carbon results in a toxic residue to manage. To avoid the transport of the chlorinated compounds out of the site, the in-situ regeneration of the spent activated carbon can be considered for reuse to implement a circular economy. In this work, the regeneration of a commercial granular activated carbon (GAC) has been carried out using thermally activated sodium persulfate (TAP). GAC was previously saturated in 1,2,4-trichlorobenzene (124-TCB) as the model compound. The initial adsorption value was 350 mg124 TCB·gGAC −1 . First, the nonproductive consumption of sodium persulfate was studied at different temperatures using nonsaturated GAC. Then, the regeneration of the saturated GAC (5 g) was studied by an aqueous solution (166 mM) of TAP (1 L) at a temperature range from 20 to 80 °C. The possible recovery of the adsorption capacity was studied after 3 h of treatment in three successive adsorption−regeneration cycles at the selected temperature (60 °C). The physicochemical changes of the GAC were also investigated before and after the regeneration treatments. The results evidence the significant deposition of sulfate on the GAC after each treatment of regeneration, which avoids the recovery of the initial adsorption capacity. Therefore, each regeneration cycle was necessarily followed by a washing step at 60 °C to remove this sulfate. After that, the regeneration treatment achieved a stable and high recovery of the initial adsorption capacity of about 48.2%.
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