Prepared by: Alaa Al-Qawasmi
Carbon is a versatile material that is widely used in modern life for human welfare. It has a wide range of applications, such as power generation and storage, gas separation, water purification, sensor fabrication, coating, and catalysis.
A research team from the at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, headed by Dr. Md. Abdul Aziz, has prepared different types of carbon using biomass, industrial waste and low-cost carbon source such as coal.
Dr. Abdul Aziz and his team have developed carbon from different sources using different methods.
They were able to control the morphology, size, BET surface area, and yield percentage by selecting the appropriate carbon source, preparation methods, and type of activating agents. He stated that each type of carbon has unique characteristics, and each prepared carbon has shown good performance in certain applications.
“We have noticed the good performance of the carbon produced in multiple areas, including super capacitors, water splitting and treatment, enhanced oil recovery, gas separation and sensor fabrication," Dr. Abdul Aziz said.
The end-users of the developed carbon could be Saudi Aramco and Honeywell, in addition to the mining industry, pharmaceutical companies, and energy storage companies, including those related to renewable energy.
Regarding the great positive impact of the research in its field and on the industry and society as well, Dr. Abdul Aziz stated that this research will play a major role in establishing the carbon industry, by taking advantage of Saudi biomass, industrial waste and low-cost carbon sources, to keep pace with local demand and for export purposes.
He explained that he will play a fundamental role in obtaining specific types of carbon materials from Saudi waste and using them in specific applications. It is noted that using industrial and other wastes to prepare carbon can also save the environment, for example, using plant residues such as dry palm tree branches and other plants.
On carbon commercialization, Dr. Abdul Aziz said that, based on the knowledge gained from research during the past five years, we will be able to create different types of carbon, including high-priced carbon. However, the production cost cannot be determined precisely, as it is limited in the scope of the laboratory so far.
“If we get the right support like manpower, covering expenses, the right laboratories and chemicals, we can do the testing on a large scale,” he added.
Several articles predicted that the use of these carbons could be applied in other fields such as electronic, computer ink, solar cells, fuel cells, and desulfurization from oil and gas.
Related to his developed carbon researches were published within 20 articles in well-known journals, hold 9 US patents, and was presented at 10 international conferences.
Currently Dr. Md. Abdul Aziz works as Research Scientist II in Centre of Research Excellence in Nanotechnology (CENT) at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. His primary research interests are the preparation of nanomaterials including carbonaceous materials and their applications. So far, he has 113 articles in scientific journals, one book chapter, and holds 28 patents.