TT No. 332: High Porosity Carbon Powder from Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunches for Adsorbent Products

Production of advanced carbon products from oil palm empty fruit bunches (EFB) has been investigated since 2003 (Astimar et al., 2003). Recently, MPOB has developed Pa process to prepare high porosity carbon and molecular sieve carbon (MSC) for gas filtration from EFB (Astimar et al., 2005a, b) (Figure 1). EFB contains about 77.7% holocellulose, made up of 44.2% !-cellulose, 33.5% hemicellulose and 20.4% lignin (Basiron and Husin, 1996). These components contribute to the carbon content of the EFB of 42%-43% (wet basis) (Gurmit et al., 1990). Porous carbon powderfrom EFB has to compete with carbon from petroleum extract and coal. With the recent rises in coal and petroleum prices, it is expected that the carbon powder from EFB can be competitive, besides offering other advantages:

• replacing raw materials from non-renewable sources (petroleum/coal extracts) with materials renewable materials (agricultural by-products)

• supports the policy of zero waste in the oil palm industry and adding value to the oil palm EFB

• encouraging the utilization of renewable sources available as agricultural by-products for valueadded products

Main Research: Astimar Abdul Aziz