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1.1 Background of the Study

Activated carbon also called activated charcoal is a carbonaceous, highly porous adsorptive medium that has a complex structure which comprises primarily of carbon atoms. The activated carbons are channels created within a rigid, skeleton of disordered layers of carbon atoms, linked together by chemical bonds, stacked unevenly, creating a highly porous structure of nooks, crannies, cracks and crevices between the carbon layers. (Sheffler, 1996).

Activated carbon are manufactured from lignocellulose materials (the combination of lignin and cellulose in the structural cells of woody plants), coal, petroleum coke, coconut shell, sugarcane bagasse and other agricultural materials. (Girgis and Ishak, 1999). Activation by different method or high temperature mechanisms are used in the production of activated carbons from these raw materials.

The intrinsic pore network in the lattice structure of activated carbons allows the removal of impurities from gaseous and liquid media through a mechanism referred to as adsorption. (Larteet al., 1999). Activated carbon is mainly available in three forms namely powdered, granular and extruded form and each form is available in many sizes, Based upon the application and requirements.

The importance of activated carbon to an ever growing society cannot be over emphasized considering its enormous uses. Its uses ranges from liquid phase to gaseous-phase applications in domestic, commercial, health care centers and industrial settings. (Hassler, 1963).

In many water treatment applications, activated carbon has proved to be the least expensive treatment option. One of the major attributes of activated carbon treatment is its ability to remove a wide variety of toxic organic compounds to non-detectible levels (99.9%). (Mendez et al, 2006).

The basic method of producing activated carbon from sugarcane bagasse are the physical and chemical methods. Both methods can combine in efforts to produce higher surface area. (Baksi et al., 2006).

1.2 Research Problem Statement

Sugarcane bagasse is a waste material constituting an environmental problem. The material is found to indiscriminately liter most cities in the northern Nigeria. However, it can be put into proper use by treating and transforming it. Preparation of activated carbon from sugarcane bagasse using thermal method will go a long way to solving the environmental problem constituted by the sugarcane bagasse and it could also be a major research guide in the study of activated carbon.

1.3 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this research is to produce and characterize activated carbon from sugarcane bagasse by thermal method. The objectives of this research are as follows;

ü To investigate the effect of temperature on the quality of the activated carbon produced.

ü To characterize the activated carbon produced.

1.4 Scope

The scope of the research work includes

·       To investigate the effect of temperature from 500, 550 and 600oc on the quality of the activated carbon produced.

·       To analyze the activated carbon through FTIR and proximate analysis.

·       Preparation of activated carbon from sugarcane bagasse.

·       Characterization of activated carbon produced from sugarcane bagasse.

1.5 Relevance of the Research

a)    Utilization of available raw materials and waste materials.

b)    Creation of job opportunity.

c)    Generation of revenue.

1.6 Justification

Sugarcane bagasse is a locally available raw material which is not expensive but has a great effect in the production of activated carbon. The method of production is safe and easy.

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