AbstractTo acquire activated carbon fiber from phenol-liquefied wood (PLWACF) with better developed pore structure and a high proportion of mesoporosity, the porosity evolution of PLWACF activated at temperatures from 850 to 950 °C by water steam was detected by the physical adsorption of N2 at -196 °C. Results showed that the pore structure was well developed by prolonging the activation time at 850 to 910 °C, and it was easy to obtain PLWACF having exceptionally high surface area (larger than 2560 m2 g-1). However, PLWACF with a specific surface area larger than 3000 m2 g-1 could only be obtained in the late activation stages from 850 to 880 °C. Using this activation process, the mesoporosity was remarkably developed. The mesopore proportion drastically increased with an increase in activation temperature or time, reaching a maximum of 49.5%. The pore size distribution widened as the activation time increased and appeared to accelerate with the use of a higher activation temperature. The mesopore size distribution was enlarged from 2.8 to 5.8 nm.