Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 521–528 | Cite as

Characterization of acid-leaching cocoa pod husk (CPH) and its resulting activated carbon

  • Wen-Tien TsaiEmail author
  • Po-Cheng Huang
Original Article


In order to enhance the adsorption capacity of activated carbon (AC) from cocoa pod husk (CPH) and reuse the solution after the acid-leaching of CPH as a liquid fertilizer, CPH was first leached by acid and then used as a precursor (CPH-A) for preparing ACs by physical activation at a temperature range of 650–850 °C in this work. Based on the proximate analysis, mineral compositions, thermogravimetric analysis, and thermochemical properties, the differences between CPH and CPH-A were investigated. The chemical and pore properties of the resulting ACs were further studied. The results show that the pretreatment of CPH with hydrochloric acid led to removal of over 90% of the ash content in the CPH, mainly composed of potassium minerals. The Brunauer-Emmet-Teller (BET) surface area of the AC derived from CPH-A at 650 °C is 355.8 m2/g, significantly larger than that (i.e., 1.1 m2/g) of the AC derived from CPH. The higher activation temperature (e.g., 900 °C) is beneficial to the pore development of the resulting AC (e.g., BET surface area ˃ 1300 m2/g). In addition, the carbon (C) and sulfur (S) contents of the resulting ACs indicate an increasing trend as the temperature increased from 650 to 850 °C, but a decreasing trend in the hydrogen (H), nitrogen (N), and oxygen (O) contents.


Cocoa pod husk Acid-leaching Physical activation Activated carbon Pore property 



The authors acknowledge Li-Jing Viscarb Co. (Pingtung, Taiwan) for providing grants under the support by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project from the Pingtung County Government. We also thank the Instrument Centers at National Chung Hsing University for the elemental analysis (EA) and National Ching-Hwa University for the inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). In addition, we also thank Mr. Yu-Quan Lin (Department of Biomechatronics Engineering, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology) for analytical and technical support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Institute of BioresourcesNational Pingtung University of Science and TechnologyPingtungTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of Environmental Science and EngineeringNational Pingtung University of Science and TechnologyPingtungTaiwan

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