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Overview of acid optimization in impregnation method for sugarcane bagasse activated carbon production.


The term of activated carbon is come from the word "carbon" and "active" which carbon mean raw material undergoes a carbonization process (burning in high temperature) while active is a material in carbon condition undergoes activation process to open a pore surface area as maximum as it can to increase adsorption rate of activated carbon [1]. Activated carbon has widely been used in industries in order to purify, decolorize, deodorize, dechlorinate, detoxicate, filter, recover salts and used as catalyst and catalyst support. Those industries are food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemical, petroleum, mining, nuclear, automobile and vacuum [2]. Activated carbons that available in the market today require high cost. Thus, several studies have been conducted to replace the raw material of producing activated carbon such as rice husk, bamboo, sugarcane stalk, tamarind kernel powder, palm shell, babool wood, bagasse fly ash, ashoka leaf powder, coir pith and banana pith [3].

Sugarcane bagasse is a new alternative as a replacement to existing product of activated carbon. Bagasse pitch is a waste product from sugar refining industry. It is the name given to the residual cane pulp remaining after sugar has been extracted. Bagasse is composed largely of cellulose, pentose and lignin [4]. It is made up of 45-55% of cellulose, 20-25% of hemicelluloses, 18-24% lignin, 1-4% ash and less than 1% waxes. Cellulose structure is believed to be the reason of capability of sugarcane bagasse to act as adsorbent. Bagasse is the fibrous waste left after the extraction of sugar juice from crushed cane. This by-product has been used in many ways such as being burnt as fuel to provide energy for plant, processed into pulp for papermaking, used as a reactant in the chemical industry and used as an additive in animal feed. Since bagasse is a highly carbonaceous agricultural by product, a natural outlet would be used bagasse as a feedstock in the manufacturer of activated carbons [5]. Figure 1 shows activated carbon made from sugarcane bagasse.

2.0 Production of activated carbon from sugarcane bagasse:

Basically, there are three method involves in proction of activated carbon. There are physical activation process, chemical activation process and combination of physical and chemical activation process.

2.1 Physical and Chemical activation:

Physical activation is a two-step process in production of activated carbon. These two steps involved namely carbonization and subsequent activation of the resulting char [6]. In carbonization process, the raw carboneceous material were carbonized in an inert atmosphere before the resulting char is activated in the presence of carbon gasification reactants such as carbon dioxide, steam or air, or any suitable combination of gaseous activating agents.

Chemical activation process is a one-step method with the activating agents such as zinc chloride (ZnCl2), potassium hydroxide (KOH) and phosphoric acid (H3PO4) is mixed into the raw material and the end product is washed to remove the excess chemicals [6]. Chemicals employed in chemical activation (ZnCl2, H3PO4, and H2SO4) are effective at decomposing the structure of the raw material and forming micropores [7]. Figure 2 and 3 below shows sugarcane bagasse before and after chemical activation process. There are many researchers that used various chemicals for impregnation of various agricultural products before it being carbonized. Table 1 below show several raw materials and impregnation method used by previous researchers.


Eventhough there are several researches have been done on production of activated carbon from sugarcane bagasse, but there were lack information on optimization of acid used and thorough impregnation method of chemical activation. Most of the previous research used various types of acid with certain concentration only. Therefore, and extensive research should be conducted to study the optimization of acid used in impregnation method, in order to produce a better performance of sugarcane bagasse activated carbon.


Article history:

Received 12 March 2015

Accepted 28 April 2015

Available online 24 May 2015


The author would like to express gratitude to the Ministry of Education Malaysia under Fundamental Research Grant Scheme (FRGS: Vot 1456), Department of Environment Malaysia (DOE) and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia for the support in preparing this paper. Grateful acknowledgement also goes to all that are involved directly and indirectly in completing this paper.


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[7] Marsh, H., and F.R. Reinoso, 2006. Activated carbon. 1st Edition. Great Britain: Elsevier Ltd.

[8] Pranamuti, S., K. Chudecha, P. Vankhaew, V. Choolert, L. Chuenchom, W. Innajitara and O. Sirichote, 2008. Adsorption of phenol from diluted aqueous solutions by activated carbons Obtained from bagasse, oil palm shell and pericarp of rubber fruit. Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology, 30(2): 185-189.

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[10] Magda, A.A.A., B.D. Magda and A.S. Asmaa, 2014. Efficient Removal of Phenol from Water Samples Using Sugarcane Bagasse Based Activated Carbon. Analytical & Bioanalytical Techniques, 5(2): 189.

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[12] Chen, C.X., B. Huang, T. Li and G.F. Wu, 2012. Preparation of phosphoric acid activated carbon from sugarcane bagasse by mechanochemical processing. BioResources, 7(4): 5109-5116.

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(1) Wan Suraya, R.W.S. (2) Mohd Adib, M.R. and (3) Rafidah, H.

(1,2) Department of Water and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia

(3) Department of Civil Engineering Technology, Faculty of Engineering Technology, University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia.

Corresponding Author: Wan Suraya Raihan Wan Suleiman, Department of Water and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, 86400 Batu Pahat, Johor Malaysia.

E-mail: surayasuleiman.797@gmail. com

Table 1: Impregnation method and uses of agricultural
waste activated carbon

Raw material           Chemical used in       Uses
                       impregnation method

Thevetia peruviana     10% sodium sulphate    Removal of dyes from
                                              textile waste water

Thevetia peruviana     30% H3PO4              Removal of dyes from
                                              textile waste water

Thevetia peruviana     30% ZnCl2              Removal of dyes from
                                              textile waste water

Thevetia peruviana     10% KOH                Removal of dyes from
                                              textile waste water

Sugarcane bagasse      H2SO4                  Groundwater

Sugarcane bagasse      Concentrated ZnCl2     Phenol adsorption

Sugarcane bagasse      ZnCl2                  Phenol adsorption

Sugarcane bagasse      NaOH                   Phenol adsorption

Sugarcane bagasse      H3PO4                  Methylene blue

Sugarcane bagasse      20% H3PO4              Methylene blue

Sugarcane bagasse      ZnCl2                  Remove of basic dyes
                                              in water matrix

Coconut fibre          Saturated ammonium     Removal of soluble
                       solution               petroleum fraction
                                              polluted water

Palm kernel            KOH

Jacaranda fruit        37% (p/p) H3PO4        Methylene blue
(Mimosifolia)                                 adsorption

Hazelnut bagasse       ZnCl2                  Removal of acid blue

Macadamia nutshell     ZnCl2, KOH             Methylene blue

Rice husk              ZnCl2                  Methylene blue

Pecan shell            H3PO4                  Removal of trace
                                              metal in drinking

Raw material           Additional             Ref.

Thevetia peruviana     Thevetia peruviana     [1]
                       is impregnate for 24

Thevetia peruviana     Material is            [1]
                       impregnated 24 hours

Thevetia peruviana     Material is            [1]
                       impregnated with a
                       boiling solution for
                       24 hours

Thevetia peruviana     Material is            [1]
                       impregnated for 24

Sugarcane bagasse      Impregnation ratio     [2]
                       of H2SO4 to bagasse
                       is 28 ml:10 g

Sugarcane bagasse      Impregnation ratio     [8]
                       of bagasse to ZnCl2
                       is 1:2

Sugarcane bagasse      Impregnation ratio     [9]
                       of ZnCl2 to bagasse
                       is 1:1

Sugarcane bagasse      Impregnation ratio     [10]
                       of bagasse to NaOH
                       is 1:3

Sugarcane bagasse      Impregnation ratio     [11]
                       of H3PO4 to bagasse
                       is 1:1

Sugarcane bagasse      Impregnation ratio     [12]
                       of H3PO4 to bagasse
                       is 2:1

Sugarcane bagasse      Bagasse is             [13]
                       impregnate for 1
                       hour at ratio 1: 1

Coconut fibre          Coconut fibre is       [14]
                       impregnate for 8

Palm kernel            Impregnation ratio     [15]
                       of material to KOH
                       is 20 g to 200 cm3

Jacaranda fruit        Impregnation ratio     [16]
(Mimosifolia)          of material to H3PO4
                       is 50 g: 50 ml

Hazelnut bagasse       Impregnation ratio     [17]
                       of ZnCl2 to bagasse
                       is 3:1

Macadamia nutshell     Material is            [18]
                       impregnated for 1

Rice husk              Material is            [19]
                       impregnated for 1

Pecan shell                                   [20]
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Article Details
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Author:Wan Suraya, R.W.S.; Mohd Adib, M.R.; Rafidah, H.
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 15, 2015
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