Adsorption onto activated carbon is used during drinking water treatment mainly for the removal of compounds of low molecular weight that cannot be eliminated by coagulation, such as micropollutants, residual organic matter – the precursors of disinfection by-products (DBPs), cyanobacterial toxins, or substances affecting organoleptic properties of water (colour, odour, and taste). As part of our research, we deal mainly with the adsorption of organic matter produced by cyanobacteria and algae, i.e., algal organic matter (AOM), and with the adsorption of anthropogenic micropollutants. We focus on evaluating the efficiency of their adsorption onto different types of activated carbon as well as alternative adsorbents (e.g., a novel TiO2-based adsorbent). Additionally, we conduct detailed characterisation of the adsorbents; we investigate the effects of different adsorption factors, especially of the solution properties, on the course and efficiency of adsorption; and last but not least, we aim to identify and describe the involved adsorption mechanisms. We are able to verify our essential lab-based findings at a pilot-scale, and subsequently participate in applying them to practice in cooperation with drinking water treatment plants.

Research Activities

  • Optimisation of the adsorption of AOM and anthropogenic micropollutants (pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, etc.) onto activated carbon
  • Research on the effects of individual adsorption factors on the adsorption efficiency of AOM and anthropogenic micropollutants
  • Research on competitive adsorption between AOM and anthropogenic micropollutants
  • Research on the adsorption of AOM and anthropogenic micropollutants onto mixed sorbents
  • Characterisation of activated carbon as an adsorbent used to eliminate AOM
  • Development and assessment of adsorption efficiency of new types of adsorbents