Preview: 2013 International Activated Carbon Conference and courses

Aug. 1, 2013

PACS prepares for another exciting event.

Professional Analytical and Consulting Services (PACS) and Activated Carbon Services Inc. will host the 32nd International Activated Carbon Conference (IACC-32) on September 25-26, 2013 and the Activated Carbon School, September 22-28. All events will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Airport Hotel. A registration form is available at The conference mission is to improve quality and increase the number of people receiving health benefits of activated carbon (AC). Abstracts were submitted for oral-, poster- and abstract-only consideration and marketing sheets were also accepted for insertion into Conference Proceedings.


Technical program

Henry Nowicki functions as the conference chairperson and provides the introduction and program coordination. He will briefly talk about the Greenbank activated carbon model because many in the activated carbon industry are using outdated models. The Greenbank model explains how activated carbons provide physical adsorption and provides a new way to think. Dr. Greenbank is a member of the activated carbon Hall of Fame.

Hugh McLaughlin will provide the options available for activated carbon users to manage their used activated carbons. Most AC applications provide an opportunity to recycle the sorbent many times and the processes to do this will be covered. Some AC cannot be reused because it contains carcinogens and instead it is sent to incinerators. Dr. McLaughlin is a member of the activated carbon Hall-of-Fame based on innovative technology to regenerate used AC.

PACS Laboratories is developing a new way to regenerate used granular activated carbons (used-GAC) from drinking water treatment plants. PACS is seeking GAC samples from water plants for the project: Used-GAC and starting-GAC samples to evaluate and compare with new cleaning technology. Nowicki is the principal investigator for the project.

Jeff Morris will provide the fundamentals and applications of Torrefaction of Wood Biomass and other materials. This process provides char for activation. There is much interest in converting wood and agricultural waste products to activated carbon for vapor-phase mercury emission control — this is the fastest growing application for AC — from coal burning power plants and waste reduction incinerators and other applications.

Evan Granite, a prior Hall-of-Fame awardee for the IACC, will provide a talk titled, “Overview of Mercury Control Options for Coal-Burning Power Plants.” An overview of current and alternative technologies for vapor- and aqueous-phase mercury capture will be provided. He will provide the DOE Mercury Program successes, spurring development, demonstrations and commercialization of many technologies. The need for an ASTM standard lab test for mercury capture sorbent activity will be discussed.

Daniel Connell’s talk is titled, “Regs, Rigs, Retrofits, and Retirements: an Evaluation of Factors Affecting the Future of Coal-Fired Electric Power Generation in the United States.”

Bill Purves will provide information on a new mercury sorbent technology for abandoned coal gas manufacturing facilities. He will cover analytical mercury determinations available for solid, vapor- and liquid-phase applications. He provides two PACS short courses on metal analysis and environmental data validation.

Neal Megonnell’s talk is titled, “Developing New Adsorbents for Biogas Upgrading Applications.” ATMI has developed a new molecular sieve for the capture of CO2 from a biogas stream. A pressure swing adsorption (PSA) system has demonstrated the adsorbent's capability. PSA has been applied at a commercial beverage manufacturer and two municipal wastewater plants.

Henry Nowicki’s laboratory has demonstrated the use of Gravimetric Adsorption Energy Distribution, or GAED, to evaluate sorbent materials for carbon dioxide adsorption and desorption.

Bill Engelleitner will discuss activated carbon particles, size reduction and enlargement. He is an expert in agglomeration methods and will cover some advancements in this area and cover converting AC waste dust to useful products. Agglomeration is used to manufacture carbon blocks and activated carbon pellets, two important AC commercial forms.

Bob Potwara will provide a status report on ASTM test methods under development and consideration. He provides an annual update for this conference, which is very useful for IACC attendees. ASTM test methods are used in major purchasing decisions.

Sara Kennedy teaches classes on green or sustainable chemistry and will provide a fundamental understanding and opportunities for the activated carbon industry and other users of the principles. She also provides a course and consulting on this subject.

Eric Yeggy from the Water Quality Association (WQA) will speak on “Activated Carbon, WQA Sustainability Program.” Stuart Mann will join Eric in the presentation.

Mario Tamburri will discuss new regulations and technologies for ship ballast water treatment before disposal. Evasive species have caused billions of dollars of industrial and domestic damage. A review of available and new emerging technologies and regulations will be discussed to solve this problem.

Henry Nowicki will discuss Trace Capacity Number (TCN) test method to choose the best activated carbon to remove Methyl-Tertiary Butyl-Ether (MTBE) from drinking water supplies. A comparison between ASTM Iodine numbers and TCN revealed that TCN can reveal the best AC and Iodine number cannot reveal the best AC. He will also provide a poster titled, “GAED provides characterizations of physical adsorbents.”                                                                                              

Christopher Brunning will provide case studies for use of electronic marketing to generate and keep business.

George Nowicki will provide a poster on the use of Heat-of-Immersion as a test method to screen samples for their physical adsorption kinetics and capacity and remaining service life. The test method developed in the author’s lab some 15 years ago was recently approved by ASTM as an approved test method.

James Ritter will provide a talk on “Emerging and new applications for pressure swing adsorption technology.” This presentation provides pressure swing adsorption (PSA) overview and history, important commercial PSA applications and technology, some new applications and research in the professor’s laboratory.

Wayne Schuliger will provide a talk on operational and troubleshooting for activated carbon adsorbers. Subjects covered are wetting, backwashing, selection of carbon and amount and much more.

Murty Hari will provide an overview of the activated carbon industry titled, “Premium carbons from wood wastes and agricultural raw materials.” Dr. Hari is a Hall-of-Fame member.

Professor Partha Basu will talk about “Arsenic issues past, present and future.” Also on the topic of arsenic, Dr. Suzanne Bell of West Virginia University will make an interesting presentation before the group enjoys the conference happy hour and dinner.   

Bill Stevenson will speak on combustible dust hazards and Martin Crawford will cover odor control with activated carbons.

Brian Stromeyer’s talk is titled, “Surface Characterization of Carbon Materials by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy XPS and Related Techniques.”

David Oberdick, Esq. will provide an oral presentation on ABC’s of Intellectual Property. Emphasis will be on identifying and protecting IP, and basics of mergers and acquisitions.

Joseph Pezze will provide a discussion on “Permitting Alternative Energy Projects,” a discussion on biomass permitting to manufacture AC.

Hall-of-Fame award

An important part of each carbon conference is the Hall-of-Fame award. Anyone can make nominations for an individual who has done outstanding things for the activated carbon industry. The award provides a life-time free admission to future carbon conferences.

Activated carbon school

Since you learn about activated carbon operations and analytical methods on the job, PACS has created the “Activated Carbon School” to facilitate faster and correct learning. Courses are provided before and after the September 25-26, 2013 International Activated Carbon Conference (IACC-32) being held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. These courses are provided throughout the year in public and at the client's time and place. Course attendees can take courses without registering for the carbon conference. Table 1 provides course titles and names of instructors. A full description of PACS courses is at New instructors and subjects are welcomed.

Marketing with or without attending conference

Commercial suppliers of materials and services are encouraged to put their marketing sheets into the bound Conference Proceedings. No cost to conference attendees; non-attendees pay to put their marketing into the Conference Proceedings. The intent is to be useful for the activated carbon industry. This enables attendees to obtain useful information for their activated carbon operations from sources beyond the attendees.

Conference proceedings

The Conference Proceedings are available to the public after the event is completed.

Future conferences and courses

Conferences and courses are schedule for 2014. They are provided every September and February: IACC-33 in Orlando, Florida on February 20-21, 2014 and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on September 24-25, 2014. You are welcome to submit a one-page abstract for oral-, poster- and abstract-only technical presentations. Send your marketing sheets or nominate an individual for the Activated Carbon Hall-of-Fame award to [email protected].

Henry Nowicki is president and senior scientist for PACS and ACS. Dr. Nowicki directs laboratory testing for activated carbon to over 1,200-plus clients. He has been the principal investigator for several EPA and DOD research grants for activated carbon projects. He has been an expert witness on several cases. He teaches short courses for PACS. He can be reached at 724-457-6576 or [email protected].

Barbara Sherman is manager of operations and registrar for PACS conferences and courses. Summit questions and logistic to Barbara at 724-457-6576 or [email protected].

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