The microwave heating system was used for sludge pyrolysis. The raw sludge and KOH-immersed sludge were pyrolyzed and their product characteristics were determined. The research results are advantageous to understand the influence of KOH activation on characteristics of pyrolysis products and the adsorption performance of metals in char. In the case of a high temperature and high KOH dose, most of the lost mass from sludge pyrolysis was converted into gaseous products instead of oil. The heat values of liquid oils were 40.86–41.39 MJ kg−1, which has the potential for use as fuels. The use of a higher KOH dose for sludge pyrolysis is beneficial to the porosity development and generates a mesopore structure. The results from adsorption tests indicate that precipitation could be the dominant adsorption mechanism due to the binding between alkaline anion and carbonate and metal ions with a strong chemical affinity. The high KOH dose sludge adsorbent has a remarkable adsorption performance and can be used as adsorbent for the removal of the studied metals.
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