Research at UAF - Removal of Dye Based Industrial Effluents Using Agricultural Wastes on Pilot Scale

Name of Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator: Dr. Haq Nawaz Bhatti, Department of Chemistry

Total Funds Requested: 3.419 million
Duration: 24 months

Progress Reports



Dyes are an important class of environmental pollutants and can even be identified by the naked eye. Dyes are having complex aromatic structures, resistant to aerobic degradation and oxidizing agents.  These are carcinogenic molecules and also disturb aquatic life causing hindrances in the penetration of sunlight in water bodies and resultantly affect food chain. Disposal of dyes in precious water resources must be avoided and for this purpose various treatment technologies are in use. For decades earlier, the dyes selection, application and use were not given a major consideration with respect to their environmental impact Common methods including physical, chemical and biological decolorization may be economically unfavorable and technically complicated. Biosorption is a process that uses inexpensive dead biomass and is particularly useful for the removal of environmental pollutants from industrial effluents. Most biosorption research has been carried out with metals and related elements; the term is now applied to particulates and all kinds of organic substances including dyes. The major advantages of biosorption technology are its effectiveness in reducing the concentration of dyes to very low levels and the use of inexpensive biosorbent material. Many non-conventional low-cost adsorbents, including natural materials, biosorbents, and waste materials from industry and agriculture, have been proposed by several workers. Present research proposal is designed to carry out the dye removal using various agricultural wastes and their screening for removal of dyes under optimized experimental conditions followed by continuous biosorption study through packed engineered columns to be applied on industrial/pilot scale Regenerating the low cost biosorbent increases the process economy by allowing their reuse in multiple sorption cycles. The process results in dye free effluents and small volumes of solution containing dyes which can be easily treated by suitable methods.


  1. Screening and utilization of agricultural waste biomasses for optimum removal of dyes from aqueous solution and industrial wastewater.
  2. Optimization of various physicochemical and experimental parameters for enhanced removal of dyes in a batch process
  3. Equilibrium, kinetic and thermodynamic modeling of biosorption data for scale up studies
  4. Continuous biosorption studies of dyes using engineered columns.
  5. Regeneration of biosorbents
  6. Application of biosorption to real industrial effluents