Synthesis and characterisation of porous carbons with optimised properties for targeted sustainable energy applications

Alali, I.K (2023) Synthesis and characterisation of porous carbons with optimised properties for targeted sustainable energy applications. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Porous carbons are increasingly receiving attention as energy materials for many ongoing attempts to find new methods of generating and storing energy. This thesis describes the synthesis and characterisation of porous carbons with tuneable properties that are directly targeted at energy-related applications. Particularly, the thesis explores the effects of the preparation parameters on the textural properties of the carbons and their performance towards CO2 and CH4 storage. The thesis also explores various carbonisation methods for generating carbonaceous matter that may be activated.

Chapter 1: Gives a general background to the key themes of porous materials that have been investigated in this thesis. This chapter presents the fundamental properties of porous carbons and their classification based on structure, pore size and pore types. The energy storage applications of porous carbons are also emphasised.

Chapter 2: Describes experimental techniques and instrumentation that have been used to investigate and characterise the porous materials generated within this thesis. The chapter also presents gas storage techniques used to examine CO2 and CH4 storage.

Chapter 3: Explores the one-step synthesis of porous carbons from two organic metal salts. Potassium hydrogen phthalate (KHP) and potassium phthalimide (PPI) as carbon precursors were carbonised to highly porous carbons via a simple onestep strategy. This chapter investigates the simplicity of the synthesis process, the effects of particle size, carbonisation temperature, and the impact of the nature of the precursor, KHP or PPI. The resulting porous carbons were found to have excellent CO2 and CH4 storage capacity.

Chapter 4: Presents the preparation of cost-effective porous carbon from plastic waste by two different activation methods; conventional activation via hydrothermal carbonisation (HTC) and the direct chemical activation with potassium hydroxide. A single plastic waste component (Polyethylene terephthalate, PET) has been used to produce porous carbons. The physical characteristics and properties of the waste PET-derived carbons were analysed, and the gas sorption performance was also studied. Depending on the washing step post activation, this chapter provides a promising material for energy storage applications.

Chapter 5: Presents the targeted and predictable synthesis of biomass-derived activated carbons that achieve high porosity and specific properties suitable for CO2 and CH4 storage. Highly microporous activated carbons have been successfully generated via two carbonisation methods from an environment-friendly and abundantly available biomass precursor, cloves (Syzygium aromaticum). This chapter demonstrates that careful carbonisation of biomass can dramatically improve the characteristics of both the activatable carbonaceous matter and the final carbon products. In addition, this chapter shows that the cloves can be used to generate activated carbons with appropriate porosity, high packing density and record levels of CO2 and CH4 storage capacities.

Chapter 6: Investigates the efficiency of direct nitrogen doping with urea as a nitrogen source and clove as a carbon precursor. It also explores the effects of using a less corrosive and less toxic activating agent, i.e., potassium oxalate (PO). A high porosity of > 3000 m2 g-1 was achieved, and the generated carbons display excellent CO2 adsorption behaviour in both low pressure (post-combustion) and medium-to-high pressure (pre-combustion) conditions.

Chapter 7: Provides a brief overall conclusion to this research work, as well as recommendations for future research.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Mokaya, Robert
Walsh, Darren
Keywords: porous carbons, porous materials, gas storage, carbon dioxide emissions, carbon capture and storage, CCS
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD146 Inorganic chemistry
T Technology > TP Chemical technology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Chemistry
Item ID: 73402
Depositing User: Alali, Ibtisam
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2023 04:40

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