Utilization of sludge-based alginate beads for the application of rare earth elements (REEs) recovery from wastewater: A waste to resource approach

Jannatul Rumky, Anjan Deb, Deepika Lakshmi Ramasamy, Mika Sillanpää, Antti Häkkinen, Eveliina Repo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The main purposes of this research work were to realize the potential of sludge valorization by converting the sludge into adsorbents and to investigate the performance of sludge-based adsorbents for rare earth elements (REEs) recovery from dilute aqueous solutions. Hydrochloric acid and Fenton reagents were employed as pretreatment procedures to enhance the surface area and adsorption yield. Following this, sludge-based alginate beads were prepared by using HCl treated (HT) and Fenton treated (FT) sludge materials. The chemical composition and surface chemistry of sludge-based adsorbent beads were thoroughly analyzed by state-of-the-art analytical techniques, such as Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) analysis. The prepared beads were then investigated for the recovery of REEs. The batch adsorption studies revealed that the FT sludge beads performed better in comparison to the HT sludge beads. Among REEs, the HT- and FT-sludge beads demonstrated higher affinity towards Sm3+ ions, displaying the maximum adsorption capacities of 2.83 mg/g and 4.16 mg/g, respectively, in a multi-component system (C o = 25 ppm of each REE; pH = 5, t = 24 h and dosage = 5 g/L). In conclusion, the results from this work showed that the prepared sludge-based alginate beads can be used for REEs recovery from diluted waste streams and the tested sludge treatment options were also found effective in converting the waste to resource i.e., sludge to adsorbent for REEs recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number132496
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Adsorption
  • Alginate beads
  • Fenton treatment
  • REE recovery
  • Sludge management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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