Modeling and Elimination of Atenolol on Granular Activated Carbon in Fixed Bed Column

Document Type: Original Research Paper


Grupo de Catálisis y Procesos de Separación (CyPS), Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Avda. Complutense s/n, 28040 Madrid, Spain


The emerging contaminants are commonly derived from municipal, agricultural, and industrial
wastewater sources and pathways. These compounds are polar and poorly biodegradable. The dynamic
removal of atenolol from aqueous solutions by activated carbon in fixed bed column systems was investigated. As far as we know, this is the first study reporting the decontamination by adsorption in fixed bed of solutions containing atenolol, as model compound of β-blockers, which are pharmaceutical pollutants with a high occurrence in natural waters. The performance of fixed bed columns was described through the breakthrough curves obtained from column experiments. The Bohart-Adams, Thomas and Yoon-Nelson models were applied to predict different parameters of the column like service time (Bohart-Adams model), adsorption capacity (Thomas model) and time required for 50% breakthrough (Yoon-Nelson model). Also, the theoretical breakthrough adsorption curve has been obtained. For the last, an industrial scale adsorber was designed from characteristic parameters of the breakthrough curves obtained from experimental data.