Dear Editor,

I wish to add an important note to my article, Pollution Control: Selecting the Best Activated Carbon for the Process Application (WC&P, May 2005) regarding activated carbon as a commodity material. I believe this is a critical issue given the AC industry today and would like to address it with your readers at this time.
Most specifiers and users are treating activated carbon products as a commodity material. Thus, specifiers are purchasing largely on price per unit weight. This trend has caused users problems and will cause more of the same in the future. 

Activated carbons are not alike. The single-number specifications of iodine number and butane number are not sufficient for today’s users to select the best activated carbon for their applications. New test methods, which provide performance at trace challenge levels of pollutants, need to be used in addition to the ASTM test methods, which evaluate sorbents at near adsorbate saturation levels in vapor and aqueous tests.  This is a confusing situation for users and specifiers – on one hand activated carbon is priced as a commodity and on the other hand activated carbons have large differences in trace removal applications.
Trace removal performance is very important for the Drinking Water Treatment Units (DWTU) manufacturers and users. This DWTU subject and many others will be covered during the International Activated Carbon Conference and Courses program this October 1-10, 2005 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Henry Nowicki, Ph.D.
PACS – Testing, Consulting, Training for the activated carbon industry
409 Meade Dr.
Coraopolis PA 15108


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