The Last Word

Granular activated carbon reactivation saves money and generates less waste

For decades, granular activated carbon (GAC) has been recognized as an effective technology for removing organic chemicals in a variety of environmental applications. With strong demand for virgin activated carbon in both process and environmental applications, the use of carbon reactivation and recycling has become an increasingly important option for many companies that currently rely on activated carbon for their treatment needs.

Reactivated carbon costs less to produce because there are fewer raw material and energy requirements. It can, therefore, be used more cost-effectively than virgin granulated activated carbon in many applications. Carbon reactivation and recycle is also environmentally friendly — the adsorbed organics are destroyed in the high temperature reactivation process, carbon capacity for adsorption is recovered, and the carbon can be recycled in similar applications. This eliminates an added cost of waste disposal through landfilling or incineration. Companies that are engaged in full service reactivation will typically provide carbon exchange and transportation services to a regional reactivated center, thereby providing a full recycle service.

Carbon reactivation can be conducted in a manner consistent with the quality and safety standards associated with the production of virgin granular activated carbon. Because of this efficacy, coupled with its lower costs and environmentally friendly technology, the reactivation of carbon offers a viable alternative to virgin activated carbon in many liquid and vapor treatment processes.

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

About the Author

Richard Giller is an attorney with the law firm of Weston Benshoof Rochefort Rubalcava & MacCuish, Los Angeles, Calif. His practice consists primarily of toxic tort litigation and liability insurance coverage matters.

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