Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 407–419 | Cite as

Preparation of activated carbon from un-hydrolyzed biomass residue

  • Chen Li
  • Sandeep Kumar
Original Article


In this study, un-hydrolyzed (UHS) biomass residue generated from enzymatic hydrolysis of corn stover was used for activated carbon production. Activated carbons were prepared by high-temperature chemical activation method, with phosphoric acid and Zinc chloride (ZnCl2) as the activation agents. A factorial design was used to optimize the activation process, and five different parameters (pretreatment methods, impregnation ratio, activation time, activation temperature, and temperature increasing rate) were analyzed with respect to their influence on BET surface area and pore volume. At optimized activation condition (i.e., co-precipitation pretreatment method, impregnation ratio 1.5, activation time 60 min, activation temperature 500 °C and heating rate 60 °C/min), activated carbon is obtained with surface areas and pore volumes approaching 1117 m2/g and 0.12 cm3/g, respectively. The capacity of methylene blue adsorption from aqueous solutions could reach 279 mg/g and adsorption isotherm fits Langmuir model. Iodine number of the prepared activated carbon was comparable to that of commercially available material. The prepared activated carbon was characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) analysis, Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA), and energy-dispersive spectrometry (EDS).


Activated carbon Methylene blue adsorption Surface area Un-hydrolyzed biomass residue Chemical activation 



The authors thank Dr. Venkatesh Balan, Michigan State University, for providing the un-hydrolyzed biomass (UHS) samples. The authors would also like to acknowledge the help with the analytical instruments of Dr. Cao.Wei for EDS and SEM analyses, Dr. Hatcher group for the elemental analysis, Dr. Gregory and Thomas Sprinkle for TGA, and Dr. Na Hao for FTIR and XRD analyses.

Supplementary material

13399_2016_197_MOESM1_ESM.docx (113 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 112 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil & Environmental EngineeringOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

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