Advanced Powder Technology, Vol.31, No.3, 1229-1240, 2020
Preparation of carbon nanostructures from medium and high ash Indian coals via microwave-assisted pyrolysis
This study is focused on valorizing low value and low quality Indian coals via microwave pyrolysis to produce good quality carbon nanostructures in the heat-treated coal char. The effects of operating conditions such as coal type, coal:susceptor (Fe) mass ratio, and microwave power on product yield and quality are evaluated. The quality of the heat-treated coal char was assessed using different characterization techniques such as electron microscopy, porosimetry, X-ray diffraction, and Raman spectroscopy. The addition of Fe enhanced the heating rates, and led to the formation of carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles. Increasing the proportion of Fe resulted in increase in size of nanotubes and nanoparticles, which is attributed to the fusion of small tubes and particles caused by enhanced localized heating. The yield of carbon nanostructures was more from medium ash (similar to 45%) than from high ash coal (similar to 37%) due to the high fixed carbon and low ash content in the former. In addition to char, coal tar and non-condensable gases were characterized. The major compounds in the coal tar were aromatic hydrocarbons, simple phenols and aliphatic hydrocarbons. Hydrogen and methane were the major gases from medium ash coal, while hydrogen, methane and CO were produced in significant quantities from high ash coal. Microwave-assisted pyrolysis is shown to be a promising process to produce carbon nanostructures in a short time period as compared to conventional thermal processes. (C) 2019 The Society of Powder Technology Japan. Published by Elsevier B.V.