Performance of electrically regenerable monolithic adsorbents for VOC control

  • Francisca Sanchez Liarte

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


The search for a low cost and effective technique to control and remove volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) has gathered a great attention from the adsorption process field. Advances in manufacturing technology have enabled the creation of activated carbon monoliths (ACM) as promising substitute for traditional packed beds of granular adsorbent materials. The research described in this thesis comprises an extensive experimental study of a single component adsorption process onto square and hexagonal channel Novacarb™ ACM supplied by MAST Carbon Technology Ltd. ACM characterisation methods such as nitrogen and solvent adsorption isotherms, electron microscopy, thermo-gravimetric analysis and thermal dynamic characterization have been used. High BET surface area, high total pore volume and high total solvent mass uptakes have been found. ACM were tested by obtaining column breakthrough curves mainly using dichloromethane and acetone as the adsorbates at the bench-scale. The adsorption dynamics of the ACMs studied were also compared with those of extrudates manufactured by the same process as the ACMs. The influence of humidity on the adsorption process has been studied at the bench-scale. Finally, the adsorption system was scaled-up to about 60cm length monoliths in order to study both adsorption and electrical regeneration taking advantage of the particular electrical properties held by the Novacarb™ ACM. It has been found that ACMs are able to adsorb high levels of VOCs, up to 40% by weight of DCM, good behaviour under humidity conditions and low pressure drop. In contrast, kinetics of ACMs have been found to be somewhat inferior to those of equivalent packed beds, although the ACM performance can be improved by reducing the wall thickness. Adsorption of DCM at the pilot-scale has demonstrated that the Novacarb™ ACM could easily be used in a cyclic thermal swing adsorption process with a half cycle time of less than one hour.
Date of Award1 Jul 2009
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorBarry Crittenden (Supervisor) & Semali Perera (Supervisor)


  • adsorption
  • Activated carbon monoliths

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