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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Ng, Chilton
item Bansode, Rishipal
item Marshall, Wayne
item Losso, Jacques
item Rao, Ramu

Submitted to: International Sugar Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/22/2002
Publication Date: 12/1/2002
Citation: Ng, C., Bansode, R.R., Marshall, W.E., Losso, J.N., Rao, R.M. 2002. Process description and product cost to manufacture sugarcane bagasse-based granular activated carbon. International Sugar Journal. 104(1245):401-408.

Interpretive Summary: Approximately 9 billion lbs of sugarcane bagasse, a waste product of sugar refining, was produced in the 2001 crop year in the United States. This material has little monetary value and creates a disposal problem. However, a value-added product, namely, activated carbon, can be produced from the bagasse. For economic reasons, it is important to know the cost of production of the carbon from sugarcane bagasse. In this study, a manufacturing process was developed that describes carbon production from bagasse and performs an economic analysis of the process, ultimately arriving at a product cost. Depending on the final use of the bagasse-based carbon, the cost to manufacture this carbon would be lower than the selling cost of some commercial carbons. Based on these results, activated carbon derived from sugarcane bagasse could potentially be a marketable commodity. Companies that rely on expensive carbons for wastewater treatment may want to consider this potentially less costly product.

Technical Abstract: Process flow diagrams and manufacturing costs were developed to convert sugarcane bagasse to granular activated carbon. Unit operations in the conversion process consisted of milling, pelletization, pyrolysis/activation, washing with acid and water, and drying/screening/collecting of the final product. Process parameters were calculated for a production facility processing 10,000 kg/day of bagasse and 4,000 kg/day of sugarcane molasses used as a binder. Final product yield for steam activation of the bagasse/binder pellets was 20% or 2,000 kg of activated carbon produced per day. Material losses were incurred during milling (20%), pyrolysis/activation (80%), acid/water washing (15%), and sieving the final product (5%). Based on an annual production cost of $1.94 million and an annual production of 621,000 kg of carbon, steam-activated bagasse carbon would cost $3.12/kg.

Last Modified: 05/26/2017
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