Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA)

Replacement of hazardous chromium impregnating agent from silver/copper/chromium-impregnated active carbon


Activated carbon (AC) is widely used as an effective adsorbent in many applications, including industrial-scale air purification systems and air filter systems in gas masks. In general, ACs without chemical impregnation are good adsorbents of organic vapors but poor adsorbents of lowmolecular-weight or polar gases such as chlorine, sulfur dioxide (SO2), formaldehyde, and ammonia (NH3). Impregnated ACs modified with metallic impregnating agents (ASC-carbons; e.g., copper, chromium, and silver) enhance the adsorbing properties of the ACs for simultaneously removing specific poisonous gases, but disposal of the chromium metal salt used to impregnate the ACs has the potential to result in situations that are toxic to both humans and the environment, thereby necessitating the search for replaceable organic impregnating agents that represent a much lower risk. The aim of this study was to assess the gas removal efficiency of an AC in which the organic impregnating agent triethylenediamine (TEDA) largely replaced the metallic impregnating agent chromium. We assessed batch and continuous adsorption capacities in situ for removing simulated hydrogen sulfide (H2S), trichloromethane (CHCl3), NH3, and SO2 gases.

Brunauer–Emmet–Teller measurements and scanning electron microscopy analyses identified the removal mechanism by which TEDA-impregnated AS-carbon (dechromium ASC-carbon) adsorbs gases and determined the removal capacity for H2S, CHCl3, NH3, and SO2 to be 311, 258, 272, and 223 mg/g-C, respectively. These results demonstrate that TEDA-impregnated AS-carbon is significantly more efficient than ASC-carbon in adsorbing these four gases. Organic TEDA-impregnating agents have also been proven to be a reliable and environmental friendly agent and therefore a safe replacement of the hazardous chromium found in conventional ASC-carbon used in removing toxic gases from the airstream.

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