Ultrahigh Surface Area Activated Carbon Derived from Agricultural Waste Streams for Energy Applications

P.R. Armstrong, Z.J. Morchesky, D.T. Hess, K. Adu, D.K. Essumang, J.K. Tufour, J.E. Koranteng-Addo, K. Opoku-Boadu, S.Y. Mensah
The Pennsylvania State University, US

Keywords: activated carbon, chemical activation, supercapacitor, electrode, environmental, energy

Summary:

The unique structural architecture of carbon-based nanoporous structures such as activated carbon (AC) has made activated carbon one of the most viable materials to address current environmental challenges. The highly developed porosity, large surface area, tunable surface chemistry, and high degree of surface reactivity make AC the most widely used adsorbent for the removal of wide variety of organic and inorganic pollutants dissolved in aqueous media or from gaseous environments, as well as the use as electrodes in energy related applications. Traditional feedstocks for AC production include, primarily, mineral carbons, and lignocellulosics from biomass and wood. However, any cheap material, with a high carbon content and low mineral content, can be used as a precursor for the production of AC. Agricultural wastes are proving to be promising precursors for the production of ACs mainly due to their availability and low cost. We present preliminary investigation on utilized chemical activation technique to convert agricultural waste (cocoa and coconut husks) into ultra-high surface area activated carbon suitable for many of environmental and energy related applications. We will show our current work on using the AC as electrodes in a symmetric double layer aqueous supercapacitor.