Characterization Of Microwave Activated Carbon Derived From The Mixture Of Palm Kernel And Coconut Shells
This study was carried out on the characterization of microwave activated carbon derived from the mixture of palm kernel and coconut shells. Activated carbons were prepared from coconut and Palm kernel shells. The samples were carbonized and chemically activated using 0.1M H3PO4, 0.1M NaOH and 0.1M ZnCl2 as the activating agents. The adsorption capacities of activated carbons prepared were determined using different standard solutions of the Bromophenol Blue and Congo red solutions. Values of solute adsorb ranging from 1.9mg – 0.2mg and 1.98-1.30g were obtained for Bromophenol blue and Congo red respectively. Activated carbon prepared from coconut shell compare favourably well with commercial activated carbon (CAC) than the one prepared from palm kernel shell. The ash content and the fixed carbon were 94 and 60% respectively. Coconut shell has a higher fixed carbon content. In terms of adsorptivity and percentage fixed carbon, H3PO4 activated coconut shell carbon (PCA) was found to be superior to other activated carbon where NaOH and ZnCl2 had been used as activating agents and it is also superior to the one prepared from palm kernel shell. The nature of the raw material from which the carbon is prepared, the activating reagent used and the nature of the solute material being adsorbed are considered as the factors favouring the performance of PCA.
Table Of Content
- Table of Content
- 1.1 Background To The Study
- 1.2 Statement Of The Problem
- 1.3 Aim And Objectives Of The Study
- 1.4 Justification Of Research Work
- 1.5 Scope Of The Research
- 1.6 Limitation
2.0 Literature Review
- 2.1 Characterization Of Activated Carbon
- 2.2 Characterization Techniques
- 2.3 Processing Of Activated Carbon
- 2.4 Factors Affecting Microwave Assisted Activated Carbon Production
3.0 Materials And Methods
- 3.1 Collection Samples
- 3.2 Preparation Of Activated Carbon
- 3.3 Analysis Of The Activated Carbon Samples
4.0 Results And Discussion
- 4.1 Results
5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation
- 5.1 Conclusion
- 5.2 Recommendation
1.1 Background To The Study
Activated carbon has been known as the most effective and useful adsorbents for the removal of pollutants from polluted gas and liquid streams. This is due to the properties of activated carbons which have a large active surface area which can provide high adsorption capacity, well developed porous structures and good mechanical properties [1, 2]. In addition, activated carbon is most widely used since most of its chemical (e.g. surface groups) and physical properties (e.g. surface area and pore size distribution) can be designed and adjusted according to the required application . Besides, the adsorption on activated carbon appears to be most common techniques because of its simplicity of operation since the sorbents material can be made highly efficient, easy to handle and in some cases they can be regenerated .
The most common precursors used for the preparation of activated carbons are organic materials that are rich in carbon. Therefore, the development of methods to reuse waste materials as activated carbons is greatly desired and offers a promising future. Agricultural wastes, such as jatropha, corn cob, coconut shell, oil palm fiber, wood sawdust and date stone are of interest to be converted into activated carbons because of their hardness and high strength in which these desired properties are due to its high lignin, high carbon content and low ash content of the materials [2, 5]. Therefore, in this study, palm kernel shell and coconut shell were chosen as a precursor for the production of activated carbon since both of them are abundantly available and has very low market value.
Activated carbons are an extremely versatile, carbonaceous material with high surface area and can be develop into various porosity and used for applications such as for industrial wastewater and gas treatment. The precursor for production of activated carbon, from utilization of agricultural and forestry product has increase in recent years because of their abundance, availability and low price . Due to their excellent adsorption capability, it is widely used for commercial and in industries. The high adsorptive capacity of activated carbon is associated with its internal porosity and others properties such as surface area, pore volume and pore size distribution. The process of activated carbon production begins with the selection of a raw carbon source, which normally comes from agriculture and industrial waste. The most common raw sources are wood, sawdust, lignite, peat, coal, coconut shells, and petroleum residues . They can be treated and developed to be a new product and in turn can reduce environmental pollution.
The most frequent method used for the preparation of activated carbon is the carbonization of the precursors at high temperature in an inert atmosphere followed by the activation process. The activation process is subdivided into physical and chemical. Physical activation process comprises treatment of char obtained from carbonization with oxidizing gases, generally steam or carbon dioxide at high temperature (400-1000oC) . In the chemical activation process, the starting material is mixed with an activation reagent and the mixture is heated in an inert atmosphere [7, 8]. This process is usually done at lower temperature and activation time, higher producing surface area and better porosity as compared to physical activation.
In the last few decades, development on microwave equipments and usage has grown rapidly. Microwave-induced nowadays is a new technique which finds other application in the areas of material sciences, food processing, telecommunication, analytical science, wood drying, plastic and rubber treatment . To date, microwave energy has been widely used in several fields of applications on both research and industrial processes. In particular, microwave heating or induce can arise from direct interaction of matter with electromagnetic energy. Vast interest in materials science and processing have offers a number of potential advantages over conventional heating. The main advantage of using microwave is that the treatment time can be considerably reduced and economical. In many cases, it represents a reduction in the energy consumption and green chemistry.
1.2 Statement Of The Problem
Activated carbon is an amorphous form of carbon, microcrystalline, non-graphitic in nature, a product of carbonization and activation of carbonaceous material which has been specially treated so that it possesses a very high internal porosity due to large surface area (Bansal et al, 1988; Debussy, 1992). A vast number of materials can be used to produce activated carbon; almost any organic matter with a large percentage of carbon could theoretically be activated to enhance its sorptive characteristics. Two distinct types of activated carbon recognized commercially are: (i) Liquid-phase carbon and (ii) Gas-phase carbon (Doyin, 1988). The three major processes of producing activated carbon are: Carbonization, purification and activation (Bansal et al, 1988). According to Bansal, the effectiveness of activated carbon as an adsorbent is attributed to its unique properties, including large surface area, a high degree of surface reactivity, universal adsorption effect, and a favourable pore size (Ogbonaya, 1992). Activated carbons are used for the following: Sugar decolourization, Solvent and solution reclamation, refining of oil and fat, removal of impurities, water purification, metal ions removal, decolourizing, drying and degumming of petroleum fractions, removal of industrial odour, removal of small quantities of radioactive contaminant (Fadil et al, 1994; Kardiravela and Namsasivayan, 2003; Francisco et al, 2010). Owing to this universal usefulness and large applications, research on the use of activated carbon has attracted the interest of different scientists. Activated carbon prepared from cocos and elaeis family has been found suitable for the removal of organic and inorganic pollutants (Rahman et al, 2006; Olayinka et al, 2009; Francisco et al, 2010).
1.3 Aim And Objectives Of The Study
This paper discusses the characterization of microwave activated carbon from coconut shell and palm kernel shell as low cost absorbent using orthophosphoric acid (H3PO4), potassium hydroxide (KOH), and Zinc Chloride (ZnCl2) as activating agents. Their adsorption capacities were carried out by the removal of Bromophenol blue and Congo red dyes. The following objectives will guide in achieving the aforementioned aim:
- To evaluate the activation power and time for the production of activated carbon from the mixture of the coconut shells and palm kernel shells.
- To evaluate the preparation of activated carbon from coconut shell and palm kernel shell using orthophosphoric acid (H3PO4), potassium hydroxide (KOH), and Zinc Chloride (ZnCl2) as activating agents
- To characterize the activated carbon produced in terms of elemental composition, adsorption capacity, surface functionality, pore size and phase composition
1.4 Justification Of Research Work
This study focuses on the characterization of microwave activated carbon from the mixture of coconut shell and palm kernel shell and is aimed at addressing effective ways of removing impurities from drinking water. This study will seek to improve the process water purification using local agricultural waste byproducts of coconut shell and palm kernel shell to produce a low-tech, chemically activated carbon that could be used in conjunction with existing purification technologies or as a stand-alone treatment option.
1.5 Scope Of The Research
In this research, the samples will be carbonized and chemically activated using 0.1M H3PO4, 0.1M NaOH and 0.1M ZnCl2 as the activating agents. The adsorption capacities of activated carbons prepared will also be determined using different standard solutions of the Bromophenol Blue and Congo red solutions. The parameters of the microwave activated carbon produced will include adsorptivity and percentage fixed carbon.
This study focuses on overcoming the apparent limitations of conventional heating methods by developing alternative heating methods; however, it is limited to the use of microwave activated carbon from coconut shell and palm kernel shell as absorbents. Further studies would be needed to ascertain the effectiveness of other heating methods.
5.0 Conclusion And Recommendation
The activated carbon derived from coconut shell activated with orthophosphoric acid (PCA) showed the greatest adsorption capacity and its adsorption capacity is comparable with that of commercial activated charcoal. However, in bromophenol blue solution, ZCA showed the lowest adsorption capacity while in Congo red solution KKA showed the lowest adsorption capacity. The results of this study show that the magnitude of adsorption capacity of activated carbon can be influenced by various factors such as raw material from which the carbon is prepared, activating reagents used and nature of the solute material being adsorbed (i.e. the adsorbate like bromophenol blue solution).The percentage ash and the percentage fixed carbon were estimated and activated carbon produced form coconut shell, PCA was observed to have the highest percentage fixed carbon. In this research, it can be concluded that PCA was the best of all the samples, this report agreed with report of (Odebunmi and Okeola, 2001).
Based on the result, the following are recommended.
- Investigation on effect of varying impregnation time and activation temperature on adsorption performance should be carried out
- Other chemical activating agents should be tested in order to diversify the activating agent that can be use for chemical activation
- The prepared samples should be employed for removal of impurities in water
- Surface area and pore volumes should be determined for the prepared samples
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