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Carbon Adsorption & Reactivation: Turning Obligation Into Opportunity In The Chemical Process Industry

Source: Calgon Carbon Corporation

By Robert Deithorn, Product Market Director, Calgon Carbon Corporation

Chemical, petrochemical, and oil-refining plants are process-intensive operations with regulatory requirements to protect the surrounding water and air from the effects of industrial pollution. These external demands are matched by equally compelling internal pressures to address product purification needs, find alternatives to utilizing costly and often scarce fresh water in production processes, reduce the carbon footprint, and operate efficiently and profitably.

For more than 40 years, activated carbon, through a process called “physical adsorption,” has proven to be a cost-effective material in the removal of organic contaminants from liquids and gases in both industrial process and environmental applications. Granular activated carbon (GAC) has a tremendous adsorptive capacity, an affinity for a wide variety of organics, the ability to be tailored to suit specific applications, and can be economically reactivated for reuse.

In the chemical process industry (CPI), GAC is widely used in liquid and gas purification, and to purify and reuse industrial process water. GAC can also be employed to meet regulatory requirements in wastewater treatment, groundwater remediation, and for volatile organic compound (VOC) abatement in vapor phase applications. One such example is the highly regulated benzene, a hazardous VOC. Additionally, recycling, or thermally reactivating spent carbon, gives CPI plants the opportunity to reduce cost and waste, save energy, lower CO2 emissions, and conserve natural resources while reducing the long-term liability of spent-carbon disposal.