Air Purification

Treating Fumes with Granulated Activated Carbon

Granulated activated carbon is commonly used as a filter media to remove harmful fumes, odors, and gaseous compounds to improve indoor air quality. 

Humans have been using carbon filtration for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians were the first documented to have used carbon medicinally – to remove odors as the result of infection. Before this, it was used in the manufacture of bronze to remove impurities. Gas masks manufactured in WWI used charcoal filters to remove some of the deadly gases used in combat. 

Today, a primary usage for granulated activated carbon is in work environments where limiting exposure to toxic fumes can prove difficult. Effectively treating and removing fumes can mitigate the negative outcomes that are the result of long-term exposure – thereby protecting the health of a facility’s personnel and staff. 

Activated carbon is an effective filter media for removing harmful fumes and gases due to its ability to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants from the air. Activated carbon achieves this through the process of adsorption in which pollutants are trapped outside the pore structure of the activated carbon granules. 

In today’s post, we discuss in-depth everything you need to know about treating fumes with granulated activated carbon – including what it is, how it works, and what options are available to you based on your needs.

What is Granulated Activated Carbon?

Carbon (also known as charcoal) refers to what is left behind after incomplete combustion. Industrial processes of manufacturing activated carbon occur in a 2-step process. First, material from wood, coconut shells, or coal is carbonized in a vacuum until all organic compounds are volatilized – leaving behind the carbon. 

Next, high-temperature steam, air, or carbon dioxide is applied to “activate” the carbon. This makes the carbon more porous and vastly increases its surface area – allowing an increased number of places for which gas molecules can be trapped.

How does granulated activated carbon work?

Granulated activated carbon effectively filters harmful pollutants from the air via adsorption. 

This process is different from the similarly named absorption. The key distinction between adsorption and absorption is that in the process of adsorption – pollutants adhere to the outside of the carbon. This is in contrast to absorption, where pollutants are absorbed within the structure of the substance much like that of a sponge.

Activation of the carbon expands its surface area which is what enables more pollutants to adhere to the outside of the carbon in the process of adsorption. 

Why do we use granulated activated carbon to treat fumes?

Granulated activated carbon has proven to be effective at removing odors, impurities, and harmful gases historically so it would make sense (and there’s science to prove it) that it would make for an effective filter media to treat against harmful fumes and gases.

The vast surface area of activated carbon makes it a more effective filter media than other substances as the larger surface area creates more surface tension, thereby promoting adsorption of harmful gases to its surface. 

Granulated activated carbon filters are effective where other filters are not at removing harmful fumes and VOCs from the air. They will typically feature a bed of activated carbon to trap gases and harmful fumes to improve indoor air quality. 

There are some gaseous substances that some mechanical filters are ineffective at trapping. Mechanical filters are unable to remove unpleasant odors – so it is often the case that carbon filters are used in tandem with mechanical filters that remove fine particles from the air, to improve indoor air quality overall. 

Activated Carbon Filters in Commercial Places

In manufacturing facilities, regular exposure to harmful fumes can be difficult to mitigate. Depending on the types of substances being used in different manufacturing processes, exposure to fumes can negatively impact the health of facility staff and personnel. As such, a powerful and effective filtration solution needs to be in place to improve indoor air quality. 

This is where the use of carbon filters can come into play. While many facilities may already have existing and effective dust or mist collection systems in place, the mechanical filters used in these systems are unable to properly filter out harmful gases and fumes. 

Granulated Activated Carbon Solution for Your Unique Needs 

There’s no question that minimizing exposure to harmful fumes is paramount to ensuring the health and safety of your shop personnel. It is for this reason that Canadian-based Aeroex Technologies has engineered a solution capable of effectively removing harmful fumes to improve the indoor air quality of your work environment. 

The Aeroex team of professionals will assess your facility’s unique needs to offer a tailor-made solution for fume treatment in your indoor work environment. Models in our IRIS series of medical-grade air filtration systems are equipped with a dual-stage, high-performance odour control MERV8/carbon primary filter as well as a second-stage HEPA filter to effectively mitigate the impact of exposure to harmful fumes via ambient or source-capture filtration. 

We are also able to augment your facility’s existing ventilation systems you have in place with an air purification solution to improve indoor air quality. This can supplement any existing ventilation systems you have currently in place at the source but are looking to improve air quality across your facility.

To provide you with a quality solution, we recommend allowing Aeroex to assess your facility to offer an affordable and efficient air purification system that meets your facility’s unique needs. Having over 2 decades’ worth of experience, our team of professionals is here to ensure that your facility’s air purification system works effectively to remove fumes and promote improved air quality. To get started, contact Aeroex today.