Recovery of cobalt ions from diluted solutions by means of protonated dry alginate beads

Alvaro Aracena, Sebastián Padilla, Oscar Jerez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mining effluents contain cobalt ions that can damage humans and flora. However, this metal also has high commercial value when recovered. The objective of this research work was to recover cobalt (Co2+) from diluted solutions using a biosorbent, specifically protonated dry alginate beads (PDAB). Experimental work was carried out in batch from an initial concentration of 22×10-6 kg dm-3 Co2+ and 80 mg alginate. Variables such as agitation, pH solution, experimental time, isotherm values, and temperature were analyzed. Maximum cobalt recoveries were obtained at pH values above 5.0, reaching 60.6×10-3 kg kg-1 of PDAB. Cobalt recovery occurred with ion exchange mechanisms from alginate carboxyl group proton release. Experimental data had excellent fit with both the Lagergren kinetic model (pseudo-first order) and the Langmuir isotherm model. As temperature increased, cobalt recovery increased. The calculated activation energy was 12.8 kJ mol-1. Compositional measurements obtained by scanning electron microscope and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy for alginate crosssections showed uniform distributions of cobalt concentrations throughout the spherical alginate structure, independent of solution pH, contact time, or temperature. Furthermore, elution gave significant cobalt re-extraction (98.2%) and demonstrated PDAB reusability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1286-1297
Number of pages12
JournalPhysicochemical Problems of Mineral Processing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Alginate beads
  • Cobalt ions
  • Elution
  • Kinetic adsorption model
  • Recovery mechanism


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