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ACTIVATED CARBON FROM AVOCADO STONE, TO ELIMINATE CADMIUM AND MERCURY FROM CONTAMINATED WATER

C. Rius-Alonso1, B. Duran-Martinez2, D.A. Flores-Peña2, V. Ruiz-Vasconcellos2, L.M. Mena-Santos2, Y. Quezada-Gonzalez1

1Facultad de Quimica, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (MEXICO)
2Instituto Godwin Mexico (MEXICO)
A team of 4 undergraduate students were involved in the project with the aim of bringing a cheap solution to a real problem.

The problem to solve was the purification of water contaminated with cadmium and mercury in a simple way. In our present work avocado stones (Persea americana) were used.

Mexico produce more than 55% of the world avocado, with an average of 1,000,000 tones per year. Thus, this a a plentiful natural resource. So far there is no use for the avocado stones.

The avocado stones were dried and treated in a oven at 375 C in order to obtain activated carbon. The water effluents with several pollutants were filtered though the activated charcoal from avocado stones, and the result was a very good decontamination of those pollutants.

This is a very simple and useful way of cleaning polluted water streams with widely available products. A constant supervision was given during all the project and it took one semester to accomplish. Several temperatures and times at the oven were performed, and also different concentration of activated carbon were used in order to obtain the best conditions of operation.

The aim of this project was to develop awareness between young students of the big problems the civilization is facing and a way in which they can contribute to solve them.