Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Chemical Engineering Journal






School of Science




Discovery Early Career Researcher Award / Discovery Project / Australian Research Council

Grant Number

ARC Numbers : DE220101074, DP200103206

Grant Link


Tian, Z., Chen, Q., Ren, S., Zhang, H., Tian, W., Sun, H., & Wang, S. (2023). Effects of cobalt salts on biomass conversion to functional carbon-based catalysts for peroxymonosulfate activation. Chemical Engineering Journal, 469, article 143856.


Metal functionalization is an effective structure-engineering strategy for preparing biomass-derived carbon materials, whereas the influences of different metal precursors on the structure and catalytic performance remain unclear. Herein, an investigation of four typical cobalt salts for pyrolytic biomass conversion is performed. The melting points and anion species of cobalt salts are found to be critical factors. Co-salts (cobalt nitrate (Co(NO3)2), cobalt acetate (Co(OAc)2), cobalt acetylacetonate (Co(acac)2)) melted at low temperatures ( ≤ 165 °C) could promote mesopore formation and catalyze the graphitization process of a biomass flower during the carbonization, finally forming mesoporous graphitic carbon matrixes with Co@graphitic-C nanoparticles and trace isolated Co atoms as active catalytic sites (denoted as Co@C-NO3, -Ac, -acac). By comparison, high-melting-point (735 °C) CoSO4/biomass pyrolysis produces an amorphous carbon/Co9S8 nanoparticle composite (denoted as Co9S8@C-SO4), with Co9S8 as active sites. Co@C-NO3 and Co9S8@C-SO4 demonstrated excellent activities with the reaction rates of 0.21 and 0.29 min−1, respectively, in peroxymonosulfate (PMS) activation for bisphenol A (BPA) degradation with distinct catalytic mechanisms. Co@C-NO3/PMS shows multiple nonradical/radical pathways with 40.9% mineralization of BPA, while Co9S8@C-SO4/PMS demonstrates a selective sulfate radical-based reaction pathway to achieve 99.8% mineralization of BPA. Co@C-NO3 and Co9S8@C-SO4 presented excellent performance for multiple organic pollutant removal (100%) in real water and good regeneration ability by thermal treatment of the reclaimed samples at 400 °C. This study provided a novel insight into rational design of biomass-derived carbon-based catalysts with desired active sites to meet a different catalytic demand.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.