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What is Activated Carbon?

Using Activated Carbon in Everfilt® Media Filters to Treat Water & Wastewater:

What is Activated Carbon?

Activated Carbons are charred, highly porous powders, granules or pellets that are made from a variety of raw materials (such as: coal, lignite, petroleum, wood, coconut shell, walnut shell, peat and bone).

These raw materials are transformed into reactivated carbon through a process of dehydration, heating at high-temperature and exposure to gases. Activated carbons can be treated further or chemically coated to remove specific chemicals. These are known as Impregnated Carbons and they are formulated to remove chemical compounds that are difficult to remove with the carbons made from the basic process.

How is Activated Carbon Used?

Activated Carbon is used in water and wastewater treatment to remove a wide range of natural and synthetic soluble organic molecules that are dissolved in solution. Molecular size varies depending upon the substance. In some applications, molecules of different sizes will need to be removed. This is an important factor because molecular size affects the selection of the specific carbon product to be used. For example, color molecules are large and are usually treated with a wood base carbon.

Some of the molecular compounds that can be removed by activated carbon include:

  • Toluene

  • Acetates

  • Alcohols

  • Ammonia

  • Arsine

  • Chlorinated Hydrocarbons

  • Formaldehyde

  • Hexane

  • VOC's

  • Acetone

  • Mercury

  • Color

  • Odor

  • Taste

  • Perchlorethylene

  • Chlorine

  • Radioactive Iodine

  • Trihalomethanes

  • Xylene

Which Industries Use Activated Carbon?

Because carbons can be useful in removing so many different organic molecules, it is applicable to a wide variety of industries, such as:

  • Petrochemical

  • Municipal Water Districts

  • Wineries

  • Liquors

  • Foods & Juices

  • Semiconductors

  • Electronics

  • Printing

  • Groundwater Remediation

  • Batteries

  • Dry Cleaning

  • Mining

  • Poultry Farms

  • Cellophane

  • Sporting Goods

  • Plating

  • Packaging

  • Machine Manufacturing

Activated carbon can also be regenerated, but first it must be removed from the pressure vessel. When the carbon pores have adsorbed all they are capable of holding, the carbon must be replaced. The user usually contracts with a vendor for the periodic removal and replacement of the carbon. Spent carbon can be regenerated in a furnace by oxidizing the organic matter and thus removing it from the carbon surface. About 5 - 10% of the carbon is destroyed in this regeneration process and must be replaced with virgin carbon. The frequency of replacement depends upon the concentration of impurities to be removed, the temperature of the liquid and other variables.

To discuss more information regarding Everfilt® Water Filtration Systems, talk with an Everfilt® Applications Engineer: 1.800.360.8380 /


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