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Physicochemical Characteristics of Biocarbons obtained from Nipa Palm (Nypa Fruiticans Wurmb) Leaves

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Pure and Industrial Chemistry, Faculty of Chemical Sciences, College of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, P.M.B. 5323, Port Harcourt, NIGERIA
  • 22Department of Chemical Sciences, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, P.M.B., 071, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, NIGERIA

Res.J.chem.sci., Volume 5, Issue (1), Pages 18-26, January,18 (2015)


Physicochemical characteristics are essential in assessing the performance indices of potential biocarbons. In an attempt to find the feasibility of developing an eco-friendly and economically sustainable adsorbent for the removal of contaminants from industrial wastewater; the physicochemical characteristics of biocarbons generated from Nipa palm (Nypa fruticans Wurmb) leaves at the same carbonization temperature with differential chemical - modifications were investigated using standard testing methods. The differentially modified biocarbons were obtained through single step pyrolysis after saturating the biocarbons with H2O, H2SO4 and KOH. The domino-effects obtained show that maximum biocarbon yield of 46.6 ± 0.21 % was recorded for basic reagent surface-modified biocarbon (BAC) followed by acidic reagent modified biocarbon (AAC) with a value of 35.1 ± 0.19%) and physically carbonized biocarbon (PCC) respectively. The data showed that, amongst the Nipa palm derived biocarbons, the BAC had the highest fractional burn-off. The percent ash and moisture contents of biocarbons (PCC: 5.8, AAC: 4.3, BAC: 3.7 for ash content and PCC: 6.5, AAC: 6.4, BAC: 7.1 for moisture content) produced from Nipa palm leaves was relatively low; while pH values of the biocarbons produced and characterized have basic characteristics with pH between 6.41 ± 0.11 to 7.81 ± 0.12 which is within the acceptable pH range of 6 - 8. The density of the biocarbons was in the range of 0.64 – 0.89 g/cm3, while porosity ranged from 66 – 79 % with BAC recording the utmost bulk density (0.89 g/cm3) and porosity (79 %). The BAC biocarbons exhibit lower attrition values and showed higher surface area. The iodine number in mg/g follows the order: BAC (814.5 mg/g) > PCC (622.8 mg/g) > AAC (431 mg/g). The overall results indicate that the type of chemical activating reagent plays a significant role in the physicochemical properties of a particular biocarbon and that impregnating the biomass of Nipa palm with KOH produced the best biocarbon amongst the activating reagents used in this work. This implies that, BAC biocarbon will be a superior adsorbent with high micropore content needed for liquid phase adsorption. The inexpensive Nipa palm leaves biocarbons has characteristics comparable to commercial granulated activated carbon.


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