(197r) Ultra-High Surface Area Activated Carbon from a Renewable Resource

Authors: 
Polanco, A., University of Massachusetts Lowell
Orbey, N., University of Massachusetts Lowell
Volkov, D., Air Force Research Laboratory
Lawton, C., University of Massachusetts Lowell
Truong, Q., US Army NSRDEC
High surface area activated carbons are widely utilized in a variety of industrial applications such as purification or separation of liquids and gases, elimination of toxic substances, reaction catalysis, and solvent or natural gas recovery/storage. Traditionally, activated carbons are prepared through gradual gasification of char with either steam, CO2, or a combination of both, resulting in highly porous structures, and ultimately significant mass reduction (normally 80-90% weight loss) of the starting material. Therefore, agricultural by-products, such as cellulose, are considered as very important precursors to synthesizing activated carbons because they are renewable and available at low-cost. The aim of the present study is to apply lignocellulosic aerogels prepared with ionic liquid solutions as precursors for ultra-high surface area activated carbon. The lignocellulosic aerogels are pyrolyzed and subsequently acid-etched in a tubular furnace under inert atmosphere to form the ultra-high surface area nanostructure. The samples are characterized at each state using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and nitrogen sorption to study the morphology and the pore structure. BET analysis of the dehydrated aerogels show initial surface areas up to 440 m2/g with pore diameters of 47nm. The effects of synthesis conditions and time-temperature profile during pyrolysis on the structure of the resulting activated carbon will be studied and the results will be compared with commercial activated carbons derived from coal. PAO #: U17-173