Optimization of Biochar Production Through Microwave Pyrolysis of Corn Cob Wastes and its Characterization for Energy Storage Application

Author : Quillope, John Christian Cuario
Major Adviser : Carpio, Rowena B.
Committee Members : Gatdula, Kristel M.; Detras, Monet Concepcion M.
Year : 2019
Month : July
Type : Thesis
Degree: BS
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An optimization study to determine the optimal combination of microwave output power and microwave exposure time in the microwave pyrolysis of corn cobs was conducted using the I-optimal experimental design. Output power and interactions between the two factors were found to be significant to the behavior of the biochar yield. This was primarily caused by the large differences in the heating rates of the system, which in turn were caused by the temperature rise with respect to the output power employed. Upon experimental and numerical optimization, the optimal condition to maximize biochar yield is found to be after 6 minutes and 54 seconds of the process, under an output power of 600 W with a predicted yield of 58.230%. Characterization analyses of the optimal biochar product showed porous carbon with an amorphous macrostructure, with a carbon content of 62.68%, which signifies successful carbonization of corn cobs that is comparable with bituminous coal. Electrochemical analysis through cyclic voltammetry indicated low specific energy and power densities, but with a specific capacitance high enough to compete with the capacitances of carbon-based materials used for energy storage devices in literature. The results of both characterization and electrochemical analyses emphasized the method’s success in providing baseline information on synthesizing porous biochar with potential applicability on energy storage devices in the future.

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