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Biomass Derived, Hierarchically Porous, Activated Starbons® as Adsorbents for Volatile Organic Compounds

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The use of potassium hydroxide activated Starbons® derived from starch and alginic acid as adsorbents for 29 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was investigated. In every case, the alginic acid derived Starbon® (A800K2) was found to be the optimal adsorbent, significantly outperforming both commercial activated carbon and starch derived, activated Starbon® (S800K2). The saturated adsorption capacity of A800K2 depends on both the size of the VOC and the functional groups it contains. The highest saturated adsorption capacities were obtained with small VOCs. For VOC’s of similar size, the presence of polarizable electrons in lone pairs or π-bonds within non-polar VOCs was beneficial. Analysis of porosimetry data suggests that the VOC’s are being adsorbed within the pore structure of A800K2 rather than just on its surface. The adsorption was completely reversible by thermal treatment of the saturated Starbon® under vacuum.

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