Submitted to: Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/2/2003
Publication Date: 8/8/2003
Citation: Ng, C., Marshall, W.E., Rao, R.M., Bansode, R.R., Losso, J.N., Portier, R.J. 2003. Granular activated carbons from agricultural by-products: process description and estimated cost of production. Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin.
Interpretive Summary: During 2002, Louisiana alone generated an estimated 9 billion lb of sugarcane bagasse and 1 million lbs of pecan shells as by-products with little to no economic value for the Louisiana economy. Possible uses for Louisiana's bagasse and pecan shells could be the development of value-added adsorbents such as activated carbon. Scientist at the USDA-ARS, Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, LA in collaboration with scientists at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA have developed product cost estimates for the production of activated carbon from pecan shells and sugarcane bagasse. Estimated production costs were derived from equipment manufacturer's costs and capital and operating costs based on process flow diagrams for each activation process. Production or product costs were determined for steam-activated pecan shells, phosphoric acid-activated pecan shells and steam-activated sugarcane bagasse and estimated to be $1.23/lb, $1.31/lb and $1.41/lb, respectively. Depending on the eventual market for these carbons, they might be sold for a profit to the carbon manufacturer.
Technical Abstract: A number of laboratories have described the use of pecan shells and sugarcane bagasse as feedstocks for activated carbon production. These carbons have found utility in a variety of applications, including metal ion remediation, sugar decolorization and adsorption of different organic pollutants. The objective of this investigation was to estimate the cost of production of these carbons through process descriptions and economic analyses. While uses for by-product-based activated carbons have been identified, very few publications have addressed the manufacture of these carbons and the costs associated with their manufacture. The depiction of process flow diagrams for the production of pecan shell-based and sugarcane bagasse-based carbons was determined from research conducted at Lousiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA and the USDA-ARS, Southern Regional Research Center, New Orleans, LA. Estimated production costs were derived from equipment manufacturer's costs and capital and operating costs based on the process flow diagrams. Production or product costs were determined for steam-activated pecan shells, phosphoric acid-activated pecan shells and steam-activated sugarcane bagasse and estimated to be $2.72/kg, $2.89/kg and $3.12/kg, respectively.