Local date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) waste stems were used to prepare activated carbon (AC) using KOH, NaCl and ZnCl2 as activation agents. Carbonization was conducted at 600oC for 2hr under nitrogen flow, followed by activation at 750o C for 2 hr under carbon dioxide flow. AC was characterized using a scanning electron microscope (SEM), Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared (ATR FT-IR), Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Iodine adsorption, BET, micropores, and mesopores surface areas at different carbon-to-activation-agent-ratios (1:1, 1:2, 1:3). FT-IR spectra results showed a reduction in AC-NaCl bands compared to other AC, which indicates less functional surface groups. At 750o C, the TGA analysis showed the carbon yield as AC-ZnCl2 > AC-NaCl > AC-KOH, however, among all samples, AC-NaCl at 1:2 ratio was the best in terms of iodine removal. This treated AC sample exhibited about 18.3 % maximum iodine removal, which indicates the high surface area and porosity with 550.4380 m2 /g, 348.7432 m2 /g, and 201.6947 m2 /g BET, micropores and mesopores surface areas, respectively. In conclusion, the local Omani date palm waste stems can be used for AC production with a well porous structure using cheap and environmentally friendly salts as activation agents. In addition, the produced AC attained better adsorption characteristics among other alternatives.
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