Keywords: activated carbon, response surface methodology, RSM, surface area, date pits, date palms, ANOVA, optimisation
Optimisation of activated carbon production from date pits
This study investigates the optimal process conditions for activated carbon production from local date palm pits using response surface methodology (RSM). Box Behnken statistical technique was used to design the production process in order to determine the influence of activation temperature (300°C to 700°C), % H3PO4 (30% to 70%) and activation time (1 to 3 hours) on the BET surface area. Second–order model developed via regression analysis to describe the BET surface area response was found to be appropriate in predicting the responses within the experimental region to a considerable extent. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that the influence of the independent variables on the BET surface area is in the order: activation temperature > % H3PO4 > activation time with only temperature and % H3PO4 possessing moderate interaction. The maximum BET surface area from RSM optimisation was estimated to be 1,337.54.2 m²%g achievable at optimum conditions of 54% H3PO4 and 547°C carbonisation temperature at an activation time of 2.067 hours.