Analysis of environmental impact of activated carbon production from wood waste

  • Kim, Mi Hyung (BKT United) ;
  • Jeong, In Tae (R&D Office, Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute) ;
  • Park, Sang Bum (National Institute of Forest Science) ;
  • Kim, Jung Wk (Department of Environmental Planning, Graduate School of Environmental Studies, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2018.03.19
  • Accepted : 2018.06.23
  • Published : 2019.03.31


Activated carbon is carbon produced from carbonaceous source materials, such as coconut shells, coals, and woods. In this study, an activated carbon production system was analyzed by carbonization and activation in terms of environmental impact and human health. The feedstock of wood wastes for the system reduced fossil fuel consumption and disposal costs. Life cycle assessment methodology was used to analyze the environmental impacts of the system, and the functional unit was one tonne of wood wastes. The boundary expansion method was applied to analyze the wood waste recycling process for activated carbon production. An environmental credit was quantified by avoided impact analysis. Specifically, greenhouse gases discharged from 1 kg of activated carbon production system by feeding wood wastes were evaluated. We found that this system reduced global warming potential of approximately $9.69E+00kg\;CO_2-eq$. compared to the process using coals. The environmental benefits for activated carbon production from wood wastes were analyzed in contrast to other disposal methods. The results showed that the activated carbon system using one tonne of wood wastes has an environmental benefit of $163kg\;CO_2-eq$. for reducing global warming potential in comparison with the same amount of wood wastes disposal by landfilling.


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