Properties of vanadium-loaded iron sorbent after alkali regeneration
The aim of this research was to investigate the regeneration and reuse of a commercial granular iron sorbent (mainly goethite) when used in vanadium removal. A regeneration rate of 3 M NaOH was the highest (85%) achieved, followed by 2 M NaOH (79%) and 1 M NaOH (68%). The breakthrough curves show that the regenerated material can be reused. The BET (Brunauer–Emmett–Teller) surface area increased by 35–38% and the total pore volume increased by 123–130% as a consequence of NaOH treatment. The results indicated that sodium hydroxide could be used for the regeneration of iron sorbent although the regeneration was incomplete. This may be explained by the fact that vanadium diffusion into pores is a significant sorption mechanism in addition to complex formation with surface functional groups. As a consequence, vanadium desorbability from pores is not as effective as the regeneration of surface sites. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy analyses confirmed a very low vanadium content on the surface of the NaOH-treated iron sorbent.