Advances in the Applications of Activated Carbon

Activated charcoal powder in a jar. Top view

Today, activated carbon provides eco-friendly solutions to many industrial and environmental issues. The substance purifies water, air, gases, and consumables through a simple process called adsorption.

While many professionals understand the primary applications of activated carbon, chemists and engineers continue to devise new ways to use this unique compound. This blog will explain how activated carbon works and detail its latest uses.

How Activated Carbon Works

Activated carbon, also called activated charcoal, is a type of elemental carbon derived from biomass and other waste products. The compound becomes activated when exposed to extremely high temperatures without oxygen. Superheating makes the carbon extremely porous.

When carbon becomes porous, it has a much higher surface area and can adsorb many contaminants. Adsorption happens when particles adhere to a carbon surface, creating a film. When the pollutants cling to the carbon, the removal process is easy.

Advanced Use Cases

Activated carbon effectively uses wastewater treatment, fuel and gas decontamination, air purification, odor control, and food and beverage applications. Researchers continually search for new ways to use this safe and eco-friendly substance.

Carbon Capture and Storage

One of the newest ways to use activated carbon is to capture and store carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is one of the primary gases responsible for global warming.

This technique helps balance the carbon cycle, removing damaging pollutants and safely storing them. Researchers are working on customizing activated carbon particles to create energy-efficient capture processes.

Wastewater Treatment

While treating wastewater is a well-established use for activated carbon, researchers are creating new ways to leverage the substance to improve results. New techniques include modifying the carbon’s properties to help remove more hazardous heavy metals from water sources.

Air Pollution

Activated carbon can also remove dangerous gases from industrial air pollution, creating a safer, healthier world. Advanced solutions are helping meet environmental standards. Its highly porous surface area allows activated carbon to adsorb and trap contaminants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide, and other toxic gases emitted from manufacturing processes.

Gold Recovery

Scientists are developing new methods to recover gold from mining waste. These applications include advanced processes to activate carbon and create a more porous product. The carbon can be recycled after capturing gold and removing it from the carbon particles.


Activated carbon’s uses in agriculture have advanced over the past decade. The compound can return nutrients to the soil, treating areas that have been over-farmed. The substance decomposes slowly and helps to balance the environmental carbon cycle.

The Utility of Activated Carbon

Activated carbon has diverse uses, making it one of the most versatile compounds on the market. Taking the best qualities of activated carbon and applying them in new ways can create the possibility of a cleaner, safer world.

Consult an expert when purchasing activated carbon. Only a specialist in this field can help your company maximize the impact of this innovative solution using the newest scientific research.

Puragen provides several activated carbon solutions for industrial, environmental, and pharmaceutical applications. The company can customize activated carbon products to meet individual needs. Call Puragen at 561-725-3671 to inquire.

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