A novel N-doped activated carbon (NAC) derived from the shaddock peel was investigated to remove Norfloxacin (NFX) from aqueous solution. The Box-Behnken central composite design (BBD) was used to optimize the preparation conditions of NAC. The specific surface area of NAC was 2,481.81 m2 g−1, which was obtained at the 1,106 K activation temperatures, 2.4 h residence time, and 2.3:1 the mass ratio of KOH to hydrochar. Moreover, the equilibrium data were perfectly represented by Langmuir and Koble-Corrigan isotherms, and the adsorption process was precisely described by the pseudo-second-order kinetic model. Besides, the adsorption of NFX on NAC was mainly controlled by π-π electron-donor-acceptor (EDA) interaction, hydrophobic effect, hydrogen-bonding, electrostatic interaction and Lewis acid-base effect. The maximum monolayer adsorption capacity of NFX was 746.29 mg g−1 at 298 K, implying that NAC was a promising adsorbent for the removal of NFX from aqueous solution.

  • The N-doped activated carbon based on shaddock peel was prepared by hydrothermal carbonization and KOH activation.

  • The N-doped activated carbon possessed specific surface area up to 2,481.81 m2 g−1.

  • The maximum monolayer adsorption capacity of norfloxacin on NAC-833 was 746.29 mg g−1 at 298 K.

  • The adsorption mechanism of NFX on NAC was investigated by XPS, Raman, FTIR and so on.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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