Bio-char, a by-product of almond shell pyrolysis, was used as an alternative adsorbent precursor for the removal of heavy metal ions from aqueous solutions. The adsorption potential of almond shell bio-char for Ni(II) and Co(II) removal was investigated. Adsorption experiments were carried out by varying pH, adsorbent dosage, initial metal ion concentrations, contact time and temperature to determine the optimum conditions. To describe the equilibrium isotherms the experimental data were analyzed by the Langmuir, Freundlich, Dubinin-Radushkevich (D-R) and Temkin isotherm models. Pseudo-first order, pseudo-second order, and intraparticle diffusion kinetic models were used to find out the kinetic parameters and mechanism of adsorption process. The thermodynamic parameters such as Delta G degrees, Delta H degrees and Delta S degrees were calculated for predicting the nature of adsorption. The results showed that bio-char derived from pyrolysis of biomass can be used as a low-cost and effective adsorbent for removal of heavy metal ions from aqueous solutions. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.