Adsorption thermal energy storage plays a vital role in supporting the availability of renewable energy. Activated carbons produced from local waste biomass have been attracting considerable attention in adsorption technology due to their unique properties and sustainability. However, their limitation in water vapor uptake hinders the practical application of this material. In this work, acorn nutshells were utilized as a base material to produce activated carbon. Air oxidation was performed as a versatile and low-cost technique to enhance the material's properties and water adsorption capacity. By applying air oxidation as a post-treatment during material production, the amount of active functional groups and the water adsorption on activated carbon has been successfully enhanced. From the theoretical calculation, it is found that activated carbon–water working pairs shown promising performance to be used for adsorption thermal energy storage applications. The adsorption of water vapor on the post-treated-activated carbon releases the isosteric heat between 2400 kJ/kg to 2500 kJ/kg. Moreover, this study's working pair can be driven by a temperature of less than 50 °C. From the results, it is confirmed that by controlling the adsorbent's surface properties, activated carbon–water working pairs can be a promising way to provide alternative material and reduce the energy demand for driving the system.
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