AbstractMandarin peels were investigated for the removal of copper ions from ethanol fuel. Infrared spectroscopy and thermogravimetric analysis were used for elucidating possible functional groups responsible for the adsorption of Cu(II) from ethanol. The influence of parameters such as the mass of the adsorbent, sample pH, stirring time, and initial copper(II) concentration was investigated using multivariate optimization strategies. The optimum conditions were a pH value of 7.0, a stirring time of 10.0 min, an initial copper(II) concentration of 6.0 mg L-1, and an adsorbent mass of 95.0 mg. The sorption data were fitted satisfactorily to the Langmuir and Freundlich isotherm models. The mandarin peel presented a maximum adsorption capacity of 2.71 mg g-1 and is low-cost, which makes it suitable for the removal of copper ions from ethanol fuel.