Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 Renewable carbon, as a versatile base material for a large range of applications, its development will move forward, being partially driven by its unique functionality and environment benefits. + 649 word(s) 649 2020-03-24 10:19:07 |
2 format correct -2 word(s) 647 2020-11-01 14:30:59 | |
3 format correct Meta information modification 647 2020-11-01 14:34:07 |

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Sun, B.; Kong, F.; Zhang, M.; Wang, W.; Kc, B.S.; Tjong, J.; Sain, M. Renewable Carbon. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 24 April 2024).
Sun B, Kong F, Zhang M, Wang W, Kc BS, Tjong J, et al. Renewable Carbon. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 24, 2024.
Sun, Bo, Fangong Kong, Min Zhang, Weijun Wang, Birat Singh Kc, Jimi Tjong, Mohini Sain. "Renewable Carbon" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 24, 2024).
Sun, B., Kong, F., Zhang, M., Wang, W., Kc, B.S., Tjong, J., & Sain, M. (2020, March 28). Renewable Carbon. In Encyclopedia.
Sun, Bo, et al. "Renewable Carbon." Encyclopedia. Web. 28 March, 2020.
Renewable Carbon

Renewable carbon is one of the most important materials which have been used in a wide range of applications, such as chemical catalysis, medicinal purification, environmental cleaning and metal extraction. Meanwhile, with the development of technology, the use field of renewable carbon keeps expanding to new areas, such as electrode and super-capacitors for energetic cell, as well as many other innovative industries. Similar to carbon nanotube (CNT) or graphene, it has variable characteristics of surface groups, along with high interface reactivity. These surface groups provide abundant reaction sites for chemical modification via electrostatic/van der Waals force, chemical bonding or noncovalent π-π interactions, thus imparting carbon particles with excellent natural affinity toward a large number of substrates. Moreover, the highly developed porous structure renders renewable carbon with a large range of surface area (500-3000 m2/g). It consists of thin graphite layers with exceptional mechanical strength, which highlights its great potential to be used as reinforcement agent in advanced packaging composites.

Renewable Carbon Intersurface Activity Classification

1. Introduction

Renewable carbon is a complex product, and this makes its classification difficult. Many different ways have been reported by considering the various features of renewable carbon, such as surface characteristics, reactivity and physical behaviors [1]. Based on the geometry, renewable carbon can be classified into granular renewable carbon and powdered renewable carbon, and each type has its own application area, such as gas adsorbent (granular renewable carbon) and water cleaning (powdered renewable carbon).

2. Granular Renewable Carbon

Granular renewable carbon has been widely used as a functional adsorbent for a wide range of applications. The particle size of granular carbon is relatively larger, thus with smaller specific surface area. Figure 2 shows the bamboo-derived granular renewable carbon prepared via KOH activation. Large pores can be observed from the scanning electron microscopy images (SEM, JSM-6460LV, JEOL) [2].

As for the application, granular renewable carbon can be employed for gas purification or for the separation of components in flow systems, due to its high diffusion rate [3]. Yang et al. used granular carbon to accelerate the syntrophic metabolism of a batch-mode anaerobic sludge treatment, via enhancing the electron exchange between syntrophs and methanogens (Figure 3). An increase of 17.4% for the methane production was achieved, as the dosage of granular carbon increased from 0 to 5.0 g [4].

3. Powdered Renewable Carbon

Renewable carbon in its particular powder form is generally with larger internal surface. It has an average diameter between 0.1 and 25 mm, with a length of less than 100 mm. Figure 4 shows the microstructure of a typical powdered carbon with large conchoidal cavities and smooth surfaces (Figure 4a,b) [5]. Its porosity is made up of randomly distributed pores, as displayed in Figure 4c,d. The inset Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) pattern further confirms the amorphous structure of generated powder carbon. The high surface area, as well as the small diffusion distance, allows the carbon powder to be directly used in the process units.

Recently, a new type of superfine powdered renewable carbon has been emerging as an effective adsorbent material with a size of 0.1–1 μm, which is an order of magnitude smaller than the conventional powdered carbon. Partlan et al. prepared the superfine powdered carbon from both wood and coconut-shell sources [6]. A wet mill with yttrium-stabilized zirconium oxide beads (dimension of 0.3–0.5 mm) was used to grind the raw materials into different sizes by controlling the milling time. The results revealed that both wood-based and coconut-shell-based carbons had their particle size decreased at a longer milling time. However, the specific surface area and pore volume distributions remained independent of the milling time. Comparing with regular powdered renewable carbon, superfine carbon showed an increased adsorption capacity for contaminants in the drinking water.

Besides the aforementioned two types of carbon, impregnated renewable carbon and extruded renewable carbon are also popular in the market. As for their application, the former can be used for air-pollution control [7], while the latter is suitable for gas-phase applications [8].


  1. Qiu, G.; Guo, M. Quality of poultry litter-derived granular activated carbon. Bioresour. Technol. 2010, 101, 379–386. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  2. Deng, S.; Nie, Y.; Du, Z.; Huang, Q.; Meng, P.; Wang, B.; Huang, J.; Yu, G. Enhanced adsorption of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoate by bamboo-derived granular activated carbon. J. Hazard. Mater. 2015, 282, 150–157. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. Aziz, N.A.A.; Mohamed, M.; Mohamad, M.; Amini, M.H.M.; Abdul, M.; Aziz, M.; Yusoff, H.; Rizman, Z. Influence of activated carbon filler on the mechanical properties of wood composites. Arpn J. Eng. Appl. Sci. 2015, 10, 376–386. [Google Scholar]
  4. Yang, Y.; Zhang, Y.; Li, Z.; Zhao, Z.; Quan, X.; Zhao, Z. Adding granular activated carbon into anaerobic sludge digestion to promote methane production and sludge decomposition. J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 149, 1101–1108. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Fuertes, A.B.; Sevilla, M. High-surface area carbons from renewable sources with a bimodal micro-mesoporosity for high-performance ionic liquid-based supercapacitors. Carbon 2015, 94, 41–52. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. Partlan, E.; Davis, K.; Ren, Y.; Apul, O.G.; Mefford, O.T.; Karanfil, T.; Ladner, D.A. Effect of bead milling on chemical and physical characteristics of activated carbons pulverized to superfine sizes. Water Res. 2016, 89, 161–170. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  7. Bandosz, T.J.; Bagreev, A.; Adib, F.; Turk, A. Unmodified versus caustics-impregnated carbons for control of hydrogen sulfide emissions from sewage treatment plants. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2000, 34, 1069–1074. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Moreno-Castilla, C.; Pérez-Cadenas, A. Carbon-based honeycomb monoliths for environmental gas-phase applications. Materials 2010, 3, 1203–1227.
Contributors MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to : , , , , , ,
View Times: 789
Revisions: 3 times (View History)
Update Date: 01 Nov 2020