Synthesis of hierarchical porous carbon with high surface area by chemical activation of (NH4)2C2O4 modified hydrochar for chlorobenzene adsorption

Bichun Huang , Jie Wen , Zewei Liu , Hongxia Xi


Received January 18, 2022,Revised , Accepted April 06, 2022, Available online April 14, 2022

Volume 35,2023,Pages 123-137

In this work, hydrothermal technique combined with KOH activation were employed to develop a series of porous carbons (NPCK-x) using tobacco stem as a low-cost carbon source and (NH4)2C2O4 as a novel nitrogen-doping agent. Physicochemical properties of NPCK-x were characterized by Brunauer-Emmett-Teller, field emission scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, Raman microscope, elemental analysis, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Results showed that the NPCK-x samples possessed large surface areas (maximum: 2875 m2/g), hierarchical porous structures, and high degree of disorder. N-containing functional groups decomposed during activation process, which could be the dominant reason for appearance of abundant mesopores and well-developed pore structure. Dynamic chlorobenzene adsorption experiments demonstrated that carbon materials with (NH4)2C2O4 modification exhibited higher adsorption capacity (maximum: 1053 mg/g) than those without modification (maximum: 723 mg/g). The reusability studies of chlorobenzene indicated that the desorption efficiency of (NH4)2C2O4 modified porous carbon reached 90.40% after thermal desorption at 100°C under N2 atmosphere. Thomas model fitting results exhibited that the existence of mesopores accelerated the diffusion rate of chlorobenzene in porous carbon. Moreover, Grand Canonical Monte Carlo simulation was conducted to verify that micropores with pore sizes of 1.2–2 nm of the optimized porous carbon were the best adsorption sites for chlorobenzene and mesopores with pore sizes of 2–5 nm were also highly active sites for chlorobenzene adsorption.

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