Production of activated carbon requires charcoal as raw material. Charcoal production will be more effective and efficient by continuous pyrolysis (carbonization). In addition to the high quality charcoal produced can also produce electricity and steam production for the activation process. Of course this makes high efficiency of the production process. Whereas in terms of environmental aspects, it is also very environmentally friendly because of smoke pollution during the process of pyrolysis (carbonisation) can be minimized below the threshold. Methane emissions that are very damaging to the ozone layer also did not occur.
The process of pyrolysis (carbonization) with a temperature of around 400 C with a product in the form of charcoal can immediately proceed with activation. Activation with 700-1000 C operating conditions can be done directly by raising the temperature. If the excess syngas is used for electricity production, then biooil from pyrolysis can be used to fuel in steam production. Excess electricity can also be sold to industries or to electricity companies. Whereas if all sources of energy are used for the production of activated charcoal (activated carbon), the consumption of heating oil can be minimized and even eliminated. Activated carbon production with all the energy can be supplied by itself is certainly very interesting and economical.
The problem with traditional charcoal production is the problem of smoke pollution and the amount of energy lost. Smoke pollution can be directly identified and can be easily felt, but the problem of energy loss is usually not noticed and generally do not know. Of course this is very unfortunate, let alone energy is one component of high costs in a production process. Is there really an energy loss? And how much energy is lost? Of course we need to look in detail at the carbonization process (pyrolysis) to answer these questions.
Conversion from raw materials to charcoal is only 20-25% in the process of traditional carbonization / pyrolysis. For example, we take a conversion of 25%, with a raw material of 10 tons of coconut shell, 2.5 tons of charcoal are produced. Coconut shell with a heating value of around 4,500 kcal / kg, meaning that 10 tons of raw material is 45,000,000 kcal. While coconut shell charcoal with a heating value of around 8,000 kcal / kg, then 2.5 tons of charcoal will have a heating value of 20,000,000 kcal / kg. Based on these calculations more than 50% of energy is lost or is only wasted, ie 25,000,000 kcal. If the conversion to charcoal is lower or 20%, the energy loss is even greater, namely 29,000,000 kcal or more than 60%. Of course it is very inefficient and should be avoided. This can also happen for carbonization of various other raw materials for activated carbon, such as palm kernel shells, wood, and so on.
Continuous pyrolysis is the best solution for charcoal production and also the production of energy that can be used for the activated carbon production process itself. The activated carbon factories that have been established can upgrade the technology especially on the side of charcoal production and energy fulfillment. The more efficient of a production will be the more economical the business. While the pyrolysis or carbonization process is also still produced by-products namely biomass vinegar (pyroligneous acid / liquid smoke) which can be used as plant fertilizer, biopesticides to raw materials for chemicals, especially biophenol and wood adhesive.