University of Colorado Boulder
Matt Bentley is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he studies low-cost water treatment technologies applicable domestically as well as in Low- and Middle-Income Countries. Matt received his PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Colorado Boulder, where he developed biochar water treatment systems for the removal of toxic organic contaminants from drinking water, stormwater, wastewater, and landfill leachate. Matt has worked and collaborated on water treatment projects across the globe, including projects in China, Thailand, Myanmar, and Mexico.
Removal of organic contaminants in landfill leachate using biochar produced from organics in municipal solid waste
Landfill leachate contains toxic organic contaminants (OCs) which require treatment to prevent environmental and human exposure. This study evaluated the efficacy of biochar – a low-cost adsorbent alternative to activated carbon – produced from the organics in municipal solid waste (MSW) to remove organic contaminants from real and synthetic landfill leachates. Biochars were produced by pyrolyzing wood, grass, food wastes, and paper products commonly present in MSW. Two treatments, ash pretreatment and post-pyrolysis double heating, enhanced biochar sorption of OCs. Feedstock cellulose content was positively correlated to both OC sorption and micropore surface area across the seven feedstocks and eight treated biochars. Ash pretreatment and double heating improved OC sorption for nearly all tested biochar feedstocks. Organic matter present in landfill leachate caused significantly more fouling of biochar compared to surface water, wastewater, or stormwater, and the fouling effect was lower for biochars with high non-micropore surface area.