Synthesis Of Activated Carbon From Enugu Coal

Project and Seminar Material for Chemical Engineering

Synthesis Of Activated Carbon From Enugu Coal


This project was carried out using coal sample from Onyeama coal mine Enugu, Enugu State. Activated coal was produced by carbonizing the coal and activating it using phosphoric acid at a temperature of 5500c. the degree of bleaching of raw palm oil was monitored using spectronic meter through absorbance measurement. The essence was to identify suitability of the coal as a bleaching agent on palm oil. Comparison of the result obtained was made with the commercial fuller’s earth.

From the result obtained that 0.45mm, 0.18mm and <0.075mm particle size of the activated coal was used at size and at variable temperature of 1200c, 1600c and 2000c were carried out, the average percented colour absorption for the activated coal from Enugu was found to be 80, 81 and 89 respectively. This, the optimal particle size, temperature and weight was obtained to be 0.18mm 2000c and log/100ml of palm oil respectively.
Further it was identified that the smaller the particle size of the activated coal, the higher the percentage colour reduction.

It was also observed that the temperature has a large effect on the bleaching of palm using coal. This percentage colour reduction increase as the temperature increases.

It could be conclude that coal is a poor absorber though if activated properly can used as a bleasching.

Table of Content

Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Letter of transmittal
  • Approval page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of content
  • Abstract

Chapter One

  • 1.1 Introduction
  • 1.2 Scope/ objective

Chapter Two

  • 2.1 Historical origin of coal
  • 2.2 Historical development of activated carbon
  • 2.3 Formation of coal
  • 2.4 Classification of coal
  • 2.4a Bank
  • 2.4b Ultimate analysis
  • 2.4c Proximate analysis
  • 2.50 Properties of coal
  • 2.51 Physical properties of coal
  • 2.52 Chemical properties
  • 2.6 Uses of coal
  • 2.7 Activated process
  • 2.8 Coal activation process
  • 2.81 Chemical activation
  • 2.82 Coal classification
  • 2.83 Classification process
  • 2.84 Use at activated carbon
  • 2.9 Use at activated carbon

Chapter Three

  • 3.0 Experimental process
  • 3.1 Equipment and apparatus used
  • 3.2 Material used
  • 3.3 Experimental
  • 3.3.1 Carbonization process
  • 3.3.2 Activation process
  • 3.4 Characterization of activated coal
  • 3.4.1 Determination of bulk density and porosity
  • 3.4.2 Save analysis
  • 3.5 Bleaching operation
  • 3.6 Characterization of oil sample (bleached)
  • 3.6.1 Iodine value (IV)
  • 3.6.2 Free fatty acid/acid value (A.V)
  • 3.6.3 Specification value
  • 3.6.4 Etherification value (S.V)
  • 3.6.5 Peroxide value (P.V)
  • 3.6.6 Specific gravity
  • 3.6.7 Determination of melting point of palm oil
  • 3.6.8 Determination of bolting point of palm oil

Chapter Four

  • Experimental
  • 4.1 Table 4.1 determination of density and porosity
  • 4.2 Table 4.2 sieve analysis table
  • 4.3 Table 4.3 spectranic reading of the unbleached oil
  • 4.4 Table 4.4 bleaching effect of activated coal
  • 4.4 Table 4.6 iodine value
  • 4.5 Table 4.7 specification value
  • 4.6 Table 4.8 acid value
  • 4.7 Table 4.9 peroxide value
  • 4.8 Concise table characterization of activated coal and bleached oil

Chapter Five

  • Discussion

Chapter Six

  • Recommendation and Conclusion
  • Reference

Chapter One

1.1 Introduction

Synthesis of coal activated carbon from coal involves the production of activates carbon from coal and the use of it as on adsorbent or adsorptive material which is used in bleaching processes.

An adsorptive material or adsorbent is this a solid which is able to adsorb a considerable amount of gas or liquid. The gas or liquid been adsorbed is referred to as the adsorbed. Adsorbed material may occur nature all or may be prepared synthetically.

The naturally occurring carbonados material such as coal, wood, coconut shell or bones are decomposed in an inert atmosphere at a temperature of about 500k. the product will not be porous so it will need additional treatment or activation to generate a system of fine pores. The carbon can be produced in the activated state by treating the raw material with chemical like zinc chloride or phosphoric acid before carbonizing.

Activated carbon has a surface area, typically of 106 m2/kg mostly associated with a set of pores about 2nm in diameter. Though there is likely to be another set of pores about 100nm in diameter, not contributing much the surface area.

Activated carbon may be used as a powder, in which from it is mixed in with the liquid to be treated, and then removed by filtration. It is also be used in granular form.

Hence by carefully choosing the starting material and the activated process it can be possible to generate in carbon a pore system with a narrow spore of pore size. This activated carbon can be synthesized from coal.

1.2 Scope / Objective

The scope/objective of this project word according to the topic “synthesis of coal activated carbon from Enugu using any available method of production, vertical, rotary, horizontal and fluidized bed method could be used in the production of the activated carbon from the coal.

It is also limited to the product of activated carbon in powdery form and by synthetic chemical process (using zinc chloride and phosphoric acid). Thus any of the above method could also be used for the carbonization any gasification processes.

The activated carbon produced can be used for dry-cleaning solvent in pharmaceuticals, sugar decolorizing drinking water purification and above all edible oil and fat refining.

Chapter Six

Recommendation and Conclusion


It should be recommended that in activating coal by chemical method sulphuric acid should be use instead of phosphoric acid. This is because concentrated sulphuric acid is much more stronger than the phosphoric acid.

In heating of coal during activation process the furnace should be employed instead of burnsen burner. The furnace maintain a steady temperature and pressure where as burnsen burner may heat the coal to the required .

It should be also recommended to use a blender or crusher in size reduction of coal since it is more effective, easier and quicker than manual grinding.

In our experiment filter paper was used and it was found that it makes filtration difficult for a high viscose fluid like oil. Also the level of filtrate gotten is hizing reduced. It should therefore be recommended to employ suction pumps which is this easier faster and better the filtration.

At low temperature like 1000c the colour achieved was not much as compared to 2000c. also at 30minutes and above there was greater out put than at 20mintes and less. This is should be recommended to use a minimum of 30 minutes for bleaching process.

Furthermore, it should be noted that activated coal is a poor absorbent because it taken higher temperature and time to bleach when compared to activated clay. This for industries production of vegetable oil (bleaching processes) activated clay is recommended.

Finally furnace be provide in the equipment should be provide in the physical and chemical laboration of the school to easy the inconveniences of carring the research project in another institution.


This research project has proved that Enugu coal is a poor adsorbent for bleaching crude palm oil.

It shows that activation of coal should be done best by chemical method. Activation of coal serve or is aimed at attenuating of coal in creating more P. for adsorption to be more effective.

The optimum temperature and time have been verified to be 2000c and 30minutes respectively. Also the optimum amount of activated coal is 10% by the weight of palm oil

Finally the absorbance and the colour changer of the bleached oil confirms that bleaching has occurred using activated coal. This activated coal is an adsorptive material

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