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The production cost analysis of oil palm waste activated carbon: a pilot‐scale evaluation

Jia Yen Lai and Lock Hei Ngu

Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology, 2020, vol. 10, issue 5, 999-1026

Abstract: Oil palm waste has been widely used in activated carbon (AC) by applying various activation methods and degrees of processing. The aim of this paper was to conduct technoeconomic assessment for pilot‐scale oil palm based AC (OPbAC) production to evaluate cost of these methods using different activation and post‐activation surface modification processes. Based on the assumptions in earlier publications, the pilot‐scale evaluation was estimated by summation of fixed capital investment with total annual operating costs according to the percentages of total equipment cost reported in the literature. The proposed investment in constructing and operating three different types of AC manufacturing facility is investigated by the net present value (NPV) method. The evaluation revealed that the physical activation process required lower fixed capital investment ($2.12 million) and annual operating cost ($1.53 million) compared to chemical and physiochemical processes with respective total fixed capital investment ($6.32 million) and total annual operating cost ($2.57 million). The NPV results reported that positive NPVs are evaluated for all three manufacturing facilities and the proposed investments associated with these facilities are acceptable. The highest production cost related to chemical activation with ZnCl2 in the presence or absence of an oxidizing gas was estimated to be $3.24 per kg AC, whereas the lowest production cost of $2.72 per kg AC was found for steam activation that required no additional purchase of commodity chemicals. On the other hand, a modification by impregnation using magnesium oxide estimates the highest additional modified AC product cost at $8.60 per kg AC given its high purchased chemical price. These findings are beneficial in providing preliminary insights in terms of economic aspects for OPbAC production. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry and John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Date: 2020
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