Activated carbon and ion exchange can be called two sides of the same coin. Where activated carbon purifies water by removing organic contaminants through an adsorption process, ion exchange removes contaminants under the surface via electrical charge.
Jacobi Carbons is well known for its work on one side, as the largest worldwide manufacturer of activated carbons that utilize coconut shell (which is microporous and consequently suited for removing disinfection byproducts). But for over a dozen years, Jacobi has been working on the other side of the coin, developing ion exchange technologies primarily in Europe.
“The common [application] that everyone thinks about, is removing calcium from water,” says Jim Knepper, the Vice President and General Manager of Resinex Global Business, a wholly owned product name within Jacobi Carbons. “But in drinking water, you are removing things like arsenic, boron, perchlorate, nitrates, metals, heavy metals, anions like chlorides, and even things like tannins and disinfection byproduct precursors.”
While Jacobi enjoys some synergy across these two product lines, Knepper notes that the pair isn’t “peanut butter and jelly.”
“There is some overlap, but it’s probably still less than twenty percent,” he says. “Ion exchange is just going to be one of many [expansion technologies] over the next ten to fifteen years you are going to see from Jacobi.”
To hear the full Water Online Radio interview with Knepper, including descriptions of new technologies Jacobi was promoting during ACE.15, tune in below.