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Activated carbon, in simpler terms, is a solid black substance which looks a lot like powdered charcoal. It has a huge surface area, and is made out of simple natural objects, such as sawdust, seeds, corn cobs etc. Activated carbon made from bamboo is known to be the most useful, as it has a higher absorption power. Production of activated carbon is a shining example of how the best things are made out of wastes. Activated carbon can help in filtering water, and also detoxifying our bodies. Also, many food and chemical products are purified using activated carbon. Its absorption power helps in extracting the toxins and unwanted substances from any given material. It is produced in either a granular form, or simply powdered. In India, it is used in the production of sugar, edible oils, alcohol, other beverages etc.

Due to its highly porous surface, activated carbon plays an important role in the production of water purifiers. The systems of filters made up of activated carbon installed in them. It can be extracted from various woody objects such as bamboo which has an inbuilt mechanical strength and a low ash content. As India ranks second in the production of bamboo, the scope for money making in the activated carbon business is huge. Also, India has no dearth of coconut shells which are the primary ingredient for production of activated carbon.

Industry Insights

The global activated carbon market size was valued over USD 3.0 billion in 2015. Growing awareness for clean water consumption coupled with the rising number of water treatment plants owing to government subsidies is anticipated to benefit the overall market growth over the forecast period.

Activated carbon is used in various industries for air purification, groundwater remediation, spill clean up and drinking water filtration. Governments across the globe are offering subsidies for water as well as air purification. These grants coupled with rapid industrialization particularly in regions such as Asia Pacific is forecasted to benefit the overall global market growth.

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As the world shifts its focus to environmental recovery and protection, the use of activated carbon will remain a key tool. The porous structure of the material, along with its versatility, have made it one of the most widely used adsorbents on the market, with demand set to remain healthy, as numerous factors drive the need for this versatile material.

How can you make money via activated carbon?

The end users of activated carbon are in huge numbers. All major food and pharmaceutical industry giants need a healthy supply of activated carbon. In short, every company that needs to purify its goods, will need activated carbon. The demand is huge and is not going to slow down any time soon.

Activated carbon is available in a variety of forms and grades and is frequently used in:

  • Decaffeination
  • Air purification (both industrial and consumer applications)
  • Water purification (both industrial and consumer applications)
  • Soil Remediation
  • Pharmaceutical Products
  • Medical Products
  • Food & Beverage Production
  • Gold Recovery
  • Automotive Products
  • Metal Finishing
  • And more…


How can you source out its raw materials?

The basic raw material needed for the manufacturing of activated carbon is are coal (anthracite, bituminous, sub- bituminous and lignite), coconut shells, wood (both soft and hard) and peat. Many other raw materials have been evaluated such as (wal-) nutshells, olive stones and palm kernels but invariably their commercial limitation lies in raw material supply. Other materials such as Sawdust, lignite and various other carbonaceous materials can also be used as man ingredients. Luckily, Lignite is openly available in many parts of the world.

What does the manufacturing process entail?

Activated carbon can be produced from a large variety of raw materials, basically by two methods, physical and chemical activation or a combination of both. The adsorption properties of activated carbon vary with the feed materials used and the way of activation. Production cost may be lowered by choosing a cheap raw material and performing a suitable production process. Agricultural and forestry residues, or generally, biomass residue wastes could be used as suitable raw materials for the production of activated carbon.

During the production of activated carbon, charcoal or lignite, whichever available, should be crushed to the perfect size and then exposed to a high temperature, namely 800 to 9000c.

It is then allowed to cool down. Its screening is done, in order to separate extraneous materials which are associated with the raw material. Then the grading process is carried out, which is done according to the wize. Once the burning process is completed, the resultant product is grounded down to powdered carbon.It is then washed to produce a washed activated carbon and then it is left to dry. Finally the product which has been formed is packed in plastic bags. Around 20 units of machines and equipment are used in the manufacturing of activated carbon in its powdered form.

The process is a tricky one, and need sound technical planning. But, as the demand for activated carbon is high at the moment, the efforts are going to make you a quadruple of your investments.