Two activated carbons (ACs) were prepared from peat using thermochemical K2
activation at 1053–1133 K for 1 h, and steam activation at 1173 K for 30 (AC-4) and 45 (AC-6) min. The steam activation duration affected the microporous structure and chemical composition of ACs, which are crucial for their adsorption performance in the methane storage technique. AC-6 displays a higher micropore volume (0.60 cm3
/g), specific BET surface (1334 m2
/g), and a lower fraction of mesopores calculated from the benzene vapor adsorption/desorption isotherms at 293 K. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) investigations of ACs revealed their heterogeneous morphology and chemical composition determined by the precursor and activation conditions. A thermodynamic analysis of methane adsorption at pressures up to 25 MPa and temperatures from 178 to 360 K extended to impacts of the nonideality of a gaseous phase and non-inertness of an adsorbent made it possible to evaluate the heat effects and thermodynamic state functions in the methane-AC adsorption systems. At 270 K and methane adsorption value of ~8 mmol/g, the isosteric heat capacity of the methane-AC-4 system exceeded by ~45% that evaluated for the methane-AC-6 system. The higher micropore volume and structural heterogeneity of the more activated AC-6 compared to AC-4 determine its superior methane adsorption performance.
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