Activation of coal tar derived needle coke with K2CO3 into an active carbon of low surface area and its performance as unique electrode of electric double-layer capacitor

Satoshi Mitani, Sang Ick Lee, Koji Saito, Seong Ho Yoon, Yozo Korai, Isao Mochida

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78 Citations (Scopus)


Raw needle coke from coal tar pitch was activated with K2CO 3 at a coke:carbonate weight ratio of 1:4, to prepare an electrode for an electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC). Although the surface area of the coke activated at 900 °C for 3 h was as small as 20 m2/g, with a very high yield, the coke achieved capacitances per weight and volume of 20 F/g and 20 F/ml, respectively, in the two-electrode system, by charging at 2.7 V. The surface area of KOH-activated coke with a similar ratio (coke:hydroxide = 1:4, wt:wt) was over 2300 m2/g, and it exhibited capacitance per weight and volume values of 42 F/g and 17 F/ml, respectively. The coke activated by K2CO3 was found to be further activated by the charging. This electrochemical activation, which has been reported as activation in an electric field, was investigated by cyclic voltammetry in order to clarify it. The graphitic and pore structures of the coke after the electrochemical activation were analyzed by XRD to confirm retention of the graphene structure. Xe-NMR showed that the formation of small new pores was induced in the cathode material, increasing the surface area from 6 m 2/g to 18 m2/g before use, although the pore volume was around 0.015-0.017 m3/g both before and after the charging. This activation with K2CO3 and a deeper understanding of the activation on charging suggest future directions for the preparation of electrode carbon for EDLCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2960-2967
Number of pages8
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)

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