- An attractive material for fluoride removal from synthetic solution is presented.
- FGD gypsum exhibits satisfactory performance on calcium release and fluoride removal.
- FGD gypsum removes fluoride through combining with calcium to form calcium fluoride.
- By-product reuse improves the sustainable development of resource and environment.
This study introduces the use of a waste by-product from wet limestone flue gas desulfurization as a potential material for fluoride removal. Systematic laboratory-scale experiments were tested to identify the fluoride removal performance and determine the underlying mechanism. Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum removes 93.31% of fluoride from 109 mg/L to 7.3 mg/L. Fluoride can be efficiently removed at the optimum pH range of 5–11. Kinetics analysis indicates that the theoretical fluoride capacity at 1 g/L FGD gypsum is 96.9 mg/g. Equilibrium speciation analysis indicates that the decrease of system pH to lower than 5 is unsuitable for the formation of calcium fluoride, and the increase of system pH to higher than 11 opposes calcium release from FGD gypsum. Thermodynamic analysis confirms the feasibility of converting calcium sulphate into calcium fluoride at pH > 5. FGD gypsum and precipitates were characterized to describe their surface morphology, elemental composition and crystalline phase. Results indicate that FGD gypsum removes fluoride through the combination of calcium with fluoride to generate calcium fluoride.