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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2017, Article ID 2801359, 16 pages
Research Article

Determination of Optimum Conditions for the Production of Activated Carbon Derived from Separate Varieties of Coconut Shells

1Department of Chemical Engineering, Covenant University, PMB 1023, Ogun State, Nigeria
2Department of Physics, Covenant University, PMB 1023, Ogun State, Nigeria
3Department of Chemical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, PMB 65, Niger State, Nigeria
4Department of Chemical, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa

Correspondence should be addressed to E. S. Sanni; moc.oohay@0003zxeda

Received 6 January 2017; Revised 18 April 2017; Accepted 24 April 2017; Published 3 August 2017

Academic Editor: Sankar Chakma

Copyright © 2017 E. S. Sanni et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Activated carbons were produced from coconut shells of tall and dwarf tree varieties. The activated carbon from the tall tree variety was initially synthesized using 1 M concentration of each of ZnCl2, H3PO4, and KOH solutions. From the adsorptive tests conducted using methylene blue solution, the activated carbon produced with H3PO4 gave the best absorbance and adsorptive performance. Coconut shells of dwarf tree variety were then obtained and treated with same mass of coconut shells of the tall tree variety using varied concentrations of the acid in order to determine whether the optimum concentration and temperature for producing carbon black from the coconut shells are distinct or similar for both varieties. The process was also modelled using the Differential Response Method (DRM) in order to determine the yields and adsorptive performances of the activated carbons by varying the carbonization temperature and concentration. The results from experiment and the developed mathematical model were both found to be in agreement giving the optimum concentration of phosphoric acid and pH for producing activated carbon to be 0.67 M and 2.07 for the tall tree variety and 1 M and 1.98 for the dwarf variety at optimum temperatures in the range of 450–575°C and 575°C, respectively.