Engineering HDR Seminar Series 22, 2013: Adsorption of Dyes using Nano-crystalline Cellulose Derived from Palm Oil Bio-waste

Mr Tan Kok Bing , Chem Eng postgraduate student

Date: 2013-04-25
Time: 14:00 to 15:00
Venue: Engineering Meeting Room 1, 5-4-22


Due to the high demands in dye production industries, rough estimations of 1.6 million tons of dyes per year are produced. However, out of these amounts, 10-15% is purged to the water stream as wastewater. Dyes wastewater cause human and aquatic toxicity. Therefore, it is essential to treat these dyes before it is discharged to the environment. Commercial activated carbon as an effective adsorbent is able to provide a solution to this problem, but it has high production cost and high maintenance cost. Due to the high surface contact area of nanomaterials, several researches have concentrated on the utilization of nanomaterials on dye removal. However, the future prospect of these nanomaterials to be developed into alternative sustainable commercial adsorbent is significantly limited by their toxicity and their cost of production, as well as cost of maintenance. Meanwhile, the first generations of palm oil trees planted in Malaysia have begun to lose their economic life, and will be decomposed naturally as bio-waste. Beneath these bio-waste contains abundant amount of useful cellulosic materials which could be extracted out as Nanocrystalline Cellulose (NCC). Furthermore, by taking into consideration in physical, chemical and mechanical properties, NCC could provide an effective solution as a renewable and environmentally friendly adsorbent to the growing water pollution due to dyes. Therefore, this research will focus on the extraction of NCC from local palm oil bio-waste, as well as to expand the application of NCC into the field of dye wastewater treatment. As there are no reported papers on the application of NCC on wastewater treatment, a preliminary study is first conducted to investigate the feasibility of NCC on dye removal by using readily available commercial cellulose source. Microcrystalline Cellulose (MCC) was chosen as it has the closest resemblance to the properties of NCC. Methylene Blue (MB) dye wastewater was chosen for this preliminary study. Preliminary study has shown that a maximum percentage removal of MB could be achieved at 94% within 3-9 minutes at the natural pH of 5.8. MCC has negative Zeta potential values at wide ranges of pH, which explains the fast adsorption rate of MB due to the electrostatic attraction between the oppositely charged MB and MCC. Results from the preliminary study have shown that MCC, and thus NCC is feasible on dye removal, and will be further improved by using NCC for dye removal, using the palm oil bio-waste extracted NCC.

About the Speaker

Mr Tan Kok Bing received his BEng (Hons) in Chemical Engineering from Monash University Sunway Campus in 2011. He then continued his postgraduate studies in 2012 under the supervision of Dr Babak Salamatinia and Dr Poh Phaik Eong. His research focuses on the extraction of nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) from palm oil bio-waste, which will be applied in the treatment of dye wastewater.