TT No. 331: Carbon Black from Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunches

Carbon black is very fine carbon powder used mainly in rubber and automotive products, such as hoses, gaskets and coated fabrics. It is also used in inks and paints, Cplastics and in the manufacture of dry-cell batteries. Partial combustion of furnace oils, obtained from petroleum refining, is used to produce carbon blacks (furnace blacks). In this technology, furnace black is produced from empty fruit bunch (EFB) by Kraft pulping (chemical activation) of the carbon pre-cursors of EFB before carbonization. The aim is to extract the lignin via a non-pulping process for carbonization which reduces the chemicals and energy required. Lignin has both phenolic and alcoholic hydroxyl groups and a variety of interunit linkages; hence, it is suitable substrate carbon black and carbon fibres preparation (Kubo et al., 1998). Lignin is a complex lignocellulose constituting about 14% to 22% (dry weight) of plant cell walls. There are three major groups based on their structural monomer units – Coniferyl alcohol, Sinapyl alcohol and !-Coumaryl alcohol (Figure 1) (Sarkanen and Ludwig, 1997).

Main Research: Astimar Abdul Aziz