Dissolving Activated Carbon Pellets for Ibuprofen Removal at Point-of-Entry

Michelle Finn, Noelle Yackel, Gabrielle Giampietro, David Mazyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The increased usage of pharmaceuticals coupled with the desire for greywater reuse to reduce the freshwater demand for potable water requires a user-friendly engineered solution. Activated carbon is a proven technology that is typically used for organic pollutant removal at water treatment plants. Lignite, coconut, and a blend of activated carbon powders were used to develop rapid-dissolving pellets with an inorganic binder. Ibuprofen was the model compound chosen for pharmaceutical adsorption in deionized water and synthetic hydrolyzed and synthetic fresh urine at rapid contact times (0.5 to 30 min) and using various pellet dosages (0.5 to 10 g/L). A cost analysis was performed to determine the feasibility of the engineered solution. With an increase in contact time, the coconut pellets outperformed both the blend and lignite pellets in deionized water at a set pellet dosage. The lignite pellets were the most cost-effective with rapid adsorption in fresh urine and a capacity of 0.089 g ibuprofen/g pellet. Additional optimization parameters include pellet dissolvability, pellet dosage in relation to different pharmaceuticals, and the impact of activated carbon on the household sewage system, and each of these are necessary to determine application feasibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1470
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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