The attraction of activated carbon

In a Q&A with Miguel Gomez, Industry Market Manager – Activated Carbon, EMEA Water Treatment at Brenntag, we hear about single-source partnerships, supply chains and sustainability.

Miguel Gomez.
Miguel Gomez.

Brenntag is a global distributor of chemicals and ingredients. Can you tell us about your products for the water treatment market?

Miguel Gomez: We offer a comprehensive product portfolio of chemicals and related products designed to cover all water treatment and environmental applications in every industry. This full-line reflects our commitment to provide the treatment technology used in every part of the water cycle, from raw water pretreatment to sludge dewatering and every stage in between.


How and where is your activated carbon used?

Our activated carbon is used in a wide variety of industries and applications, including water, gas and air purification, chemical and pharmaceutical production, food and beverage processing and automotive. For example, in water treatment plants, our product is instrumental in removing impurities from the water before it reaches consumers’ taps. In the automotive sector, it is used in vehicles’ emission control systems to capture pollutants. Our activated carbon is also utilised in air filtration systems to ensure clean and safe air.


What differentiates your activated carbon from the competition?

Unlike most competitors who primarily supply activated carbon, we offer a comprehensive range of water treatment chemicals alongside our purification program, positioning ourselves as a single-source partner for our customers. This eliminates the need for them to look for products to complement their treatment program. Our robust supply chain, global sourcing and extensive network ensure timely and reliable delivery to customers, regardless of location.


Activated carbon is a niche area for Brenntag. What attracts you to this market?

Activated carbon is indeed a niche market, but one with significant growth potential. The diversity of industries and applications that employ activated carbon, combined with increasing regulatory requirements for environmental compliance, position it as an attractive area for our business. We’re also drawn to emerging opportunities tied to circular economy initiatives and the energy transition, like wastewater reuse and biogas production.


Where is your water treatment-related R&D focused? What products are being developed?

We collaborate with R&D partners on novel application concepts and innovative treatment programs. Currently, we’re working on the development of bespoke activated carbon products for niche applications like the removal of emerging micropollutants such as PFAS, hormones or pharmaceutical residuals.


What are you doing about sustainability?

As a global company, we’re aware of our responsibility to the environment. Our aim is to provide sustainable treatment solutions for water, soil and air which help our customers reduce their water footprint and achieve their sustainability objectives. We have created solutions to treat and recycle wastewater, reducing the need for freshwater resources. In the renewable energy space, our activated carbons are being used in biogas plants, contributing to greener energy production.


What lies ahead for Brenntag?

Looking ahead, we plan to expand our reach across both the municipal and the industrial segments with value-add treatment solutions. We’re investing heavily in building in-house capabilities for activated carbon blending, repacking and reactivation, developing mobile filter units and expanding lab resources. Additionally, we’re exploring partnerships with new suppliers to extend our portfolio for speciality applications.


This article first appeared in the July 2023 issue of Filtration+Separation magazine. To read the full issue, click here