Parametric optimization and structural feature analysis of humic acid extraction from lignite

Rashid, T., Sher, F., Jusoh, M., Joya, T.A., Zhang, S., Rasheed, T. and Lima, E.C., 2023. Parametric optimization and structural feature analysis of humic acid extraction from lignite. Environmental Research, 220: 115160. ISSN 0013-9351

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Humic acid (HA) is a complex organic compound made up of small molecules. A variety of raw materials are used to manufacture HA, due to which the structure and composition of HA vary widely. In this study, nitric acid oxidation of two coal samples from Lakhra (Pakistan) was followed by HA extraction using 2.5, 3.0 and 3.5% KOH solutions. The impact of different operating parameters such as; the effect of KOH concentrations, KOH-coal proportion, extraction time and pH range influencing the HA extraction efficiency was optimally investigated. Commercial HA applications possess numerous challenges, including valuable applications and sub-optimal extraction techniques. A significant limitation of conventional experimental methods is that they can only investigate one component at a time. It is necessary to improve the current processing conditions, this can only be achieved by modelling and optimization of the process conditions to meet market demands. A comprehensive evaluation and prediction of HA extraction using Response Surface Methodology (RSM) are also being reported for the first time in this study. The maximum HA extraction efficiency of 89.32% and 87.04% for coal samples 1 and 2 respectively was achieved with the lowest possible pH of 1.09 (coal sample 1) and 1(coal sample 2), which is remarkably lower as compared to those reported in the literature for conventional alkaline extraction process. The model was evaluated for two coal samples through the coefficient of determination (R2), Root Means Square Error (RMSE), and Mean Average Error (MEE). The results of RSM for coal sample 1 (R2 = 0.9795, RMSE = 4.784) and coal sample 2 (R2 = 0.9758, RMSE = 4.907) showed that the model is well suited for HA extraction efficiency predictions. The derived humic acid from lignite coal was analyzed using elemental analysis, UV–Visible spectrophotometry and Fourier-transformed infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy techniques. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) was applied to analyze the morphological modifications of the extracted HA after treatment with 3.5% KOH solution. For agricultural objectives, such as soil enrichment, enhancing plant growth conditions, and creating green energy solutions, this acquired HA can be made bioactive. This study not only establishes a basis for research into the optimized extraction of HA from lignite coal, but it also creates a new avenue for the efficient and clean use of lignite.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Environmental Research
Creators: Rashid, T., Sher, F., Jusoh, M., Joya, T.A., Zhang, S., Rasheed, T. and Lima, E.C.
Publisher: Elsevier
Date: March 2023
Volume: 220
ISSN: 0013-9351
S0013935122024872Publisher Item Identifier
Rights: © 2022 the author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 06 Feb 2023 11:41
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2023 11:41

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