General Carbon Corporation has been in the activated carbon and activated charcoal business for over 55 years. We carry a large inventory of activated carbon and charcoal for the treatment of both air and water streams. We have many different types of carbon available for immediate shipment, including pelletized, granular, powdered and reactivated, made out of several different materials such as coal, coconut shell and wood. We can also provide you with the related filtration equipment. General Carbon offers full services from our warehouses in New Jersey, Mississippi, Toronto and California.

Company details

33 Paterson Street , Paterson , NJ 07501 USA

Locations Served

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Nationally (across the country)
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If you are looking for information on filtration equipment or where to buy activated carbon, you have come to the right place. Allow us to introduce ourselves. We are the General Carbon Corporation and have been in the activated carbon and charcoal business for over 50 years.

The treatment of contaminated air and water streams is our trade and passion. We carry an assortment of adsorption products such as, but not limited to, granular activated carbon filters, carbon pellets, food grade activated carbon and even aquarium carbon. Being an expert supplier and manufacturer, we often make custom filtration systems, and supply transportable air filters, water pollution control barrels and the necessary carbon and charcoal for these units.

Activated Carbon and Activated Charcoal

We carry a large inventory of activated carbon and activated charcoal for the treatment of both air and water applications. We have many different types of active carbon available for immediate shipment, including pelletized activated carbon, granular activated carbon, powdered activated carbon and reactivated carbon, made out of several different materials such as bituminous coal, lignite coal, coconut shell and wood. Orders of all sizes are welcomed as we commonly fill orders of bulk activated carbon. We can ship to anywhere in the United States from our east, west and gulf coast warehouses as well as from Canada. For our activated carbon MSDS sheet, please view our vapor and liquid product tabs.

Activated Carbon Filtration Equipment

Aside from the carbon and charcoal we inventory, we also carry a complete line of activated carbon filtration equipment. Our adsorption equipment includes activated carbon filters, vessels, canisters, panels and adsorbers of all sizes available for treatment and purification of vapor and liquid applications. General Carbon Corporation can also design and build custom engineered systems for unique applications. These include complete pump and treat, SVE, and odor control systems. In addition to the selling of filtration equipment, we also have the capability to service carbon systems on-site on a nationwide basis. This includes the removal and regeneration of the spent carbon and its replacement with new media.

Impregnated Activated Carbon and Specialty Media

General Carbon Corporation also specializes in impregnated carbons, and in specialty medias. We have on-site machinery to impregnate carbon for specific needs. In addition, we carry special adsorbents for the removal of heavy oils and metals as well as potassium permanganate impregnated media for odor control.

Services and Capabilities

With over 50 years of experience in the activated carbon business, we are capable of providing any technical advice needed. If there is anything that we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us.

What Is Activated Carbon?
Activated carbon is a highly porous substance that attracts and holds organic chemicals inside it. The media is created by first burning a carbonaceous substance without oxygen which makes a carbon “char”. Next, the “char” is treated chemically or physically to develop an interconnected series of “holes” or pores inside the carbon. The great surface area of this internal pore network results in an extremely large surface area that can attract and hold organic chemicals.

Is There A Difference Between Activated Carbon And Activated Charcoal?
Most people have a misunderstanding that there is a difference between activated carbon and activated charcoal. Both of these terms can and are used interchangeably. As well, active carbon is another similar word used for activated carbon and activated charcoal. All of these phrases are synonymous and commonly found in our field.

What Does Activated Carbon Do?
Activated carbon attracts organic chemicals from vapor and liquid streams cleaning them of unwanted chemicals. It does not have a great capacity for these chemicals, but is very cost effective for treating large volumes of air or water to remove dilute concentrations of contamination. For a better perspective, when individuals ingest chemicals or are experiencing food poisoning, they are instructed to drink a small amount of activated carbon to soak up and remove the poisons.

What Will Activated Carbon Remove?
Organic chemicals are attracted to carbon the best. Very few inorganic chemicals will be removed by carbon. The molecular weight, polarity, solubility in water, temperature of the fluid stream and concentration in the stream are all factors that affect the capacity of the carbon for the material to be removed. VOCs such as Benzene, Toluene, Xylene, oils and some chlorinated compounds are common target chemicals removed through use of carbon. Other large uses for activated carbon are the removal of odors and color contamination.

What Is Activated Carbon Made From?
Here at General Carbon, we carry activated carbon made from bituminous coal, lignite coal, coconut shell and wood.

How Is Activated Carbon Made?
There are two different ways to make activated carbon but for this article we will provide you with the more efficient way that will create higher quality and purer activated carbon. Activated carbon is made by being placed in a tank without oxygen and subjecting it to extremely high temperatures, 600-900 degrees Celsius. Afterwards, the carbon is exposed to different chemicals, commonly argon and nitrogen, and again placed in a tank and superheated from 600-1200 degrees Celsius. The second time the carbon is placed in the heat tank, it is exposed to steam and oxygen. Through this process, a pore structure is created and the usable surface area of the carbon greatly increases.

Which Activated Carbon Should I Use?
The first decision for using carbon is to treat a liquid or vapor stream. Air is best treated using large particles of carbon to reduce the pressure drop through the bed. Smaller particles are used with liquid applications to reduce the distance the chemicals have to travel to be adsorbed inside the carbon. Whether your project treats vapor or liquid, there are different sized carbon particles available. There are all different substrates such as coal or coconut shell base carbon to consider. Talk to a General Carbon representative to get the best product for your job.

How Do I Use Activated Carbon?
Carbon is typically used in a column contactor. The columns are called adsorbers and are designed specifically for air and water. The design is engineered for loading (amount of fluid per area cross section), contact time (a minimum contact time is needed to insure required removal) and pressure drop through the adsorber (needed to size container pressure rating and fan/pump design rating). The standard General Carbon adsorbers are pre-engineered to meet all of the requirements for good adsorber design. We can also design special designs for applications outside the normal range.

How Long Does Activated Carbon Last?
Carbons capacity for chemicals depends on many things. The molecular weight of the chemical being removed, the concentration of the chemical in the stream being treated, other chemicals in the treated stream, operating temperature of the system and polarity of the chemicals being removed all affect the life of a carbon bed. Your General Carbon representative will be able to provide you with an expected operating life based on the amounts and chemicals in your stream.

Does Activated Carbon Absorb or Adsorb?
Activated carbon adsorbs. The chemical process of absorption is commonly compared to a sponge soaking up water. The water is fully integrated into the sponge, not being limited to the surface area. Differently, adsorption is a process whereby molecules stick to the surface area only. As mentioned above, activated carbon has a large surface area due to being a porous material. The unwanted substance sticks to the surface area of the carbon particles.

Which Carbon filter is best for me?
There are several kinds of activated carbon filters and determining which filter will work best for you is actually not that complicated. If you would like to learn more about the proper treatment of your application, our technicians are more than willing to find a solution. Please contact us for more information through this process.

Activated carbon is used for the removal of odors, tastes, colors, or even poisons in either a liquid or gas state. The ability for activated carbon to remove contaminants is not based on how much carbon one uses, but rather the capacity of carbon to adsorb the contaminant. The higher the capacity, the greater amount of contaminants the carbon adsorbs per unit volume. Because natural carbon is not able to treat every contaminant, there are different carbon products which remove specific contaminants.

In a specific case, activated carbon can remove certain chemicals or contaminants from water. It is most effective in the removal of organics due to their composition of hydrogen and carbon. Therefore, the activated carbon has a much greater attraction to the contaminant than the contaminant has with the water.1 This causes the activated carbon to adsorb the contaminant, leaving the water pure and contamination free. However, there are still organics that are poorly adsorbed by activated carbon.

When unsure if a chemical can be removed by activated carbon, both the molecular weight and solubility of the chemical are factors to be aware of. Compounds that have high molecular weight and low solubility are more effectively adsorbed by activated carbon. “The reason for these properties is that the adsorption is best for compounds with similar molecular structures and electron distribution as the adsorbent material.”2 In other words, because activated carbon has a high molecular weight, it effectively adsorbs materials with these same properties.

Chemicals with a low molecular weight such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and chlorine are poorly adsorbed by activated carbon in the vapor phase regardless of its organic properties. For these instances, General Carbon offers GC IPH or GC Sulfursorb Plus to remove hydrogen sulfide, GC IPA to remove ammonia, and GC Chloratreat to remove chlorine. Although standard activated carbon may not be able to remove certain contaminants, General Carbon has many specialty vapor and liquid filtration products for these problematic applications.

There is not one type of carbon that can remove every single contaminant. As a result, if multiple chemicals need to be removed, General Carbon can provide a blend of various products that each remove a specific contaminant. For example, if someone needed to remove H2S as well as various nuisance odors, then GC Sulfursorb Plus or GC IPH can be blended with GC 4x8S to remove both groups of contaminants.

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a poisonous, highly flammable, colorless gas that is associated with a ‘rotten egg’ odor. As stated by, “hydrogen sulfide is created naturally by decaying organic matter and is released from sewage sludge, liquid manure, and sulfur hot springs.” It also is a by-product from industrial processes such as natural gas processing, petroleum refining and petrochemical plants.2 A filtration apparatus or breathing device should be used at all times when encountering air containing H2S. Possible side effects of inhaling hydrogen sulfide include reduced oxygen intake, central nervous system failure, eye irritation, respiratory system complications, shock, coma, and even death.

Treating the effluent air stream with activated carbon has been found to be one of the best ways to remove hydrogen sulfide. Most standard activated carbons have little capacity for H2S. However, General Carbon carries both impregnated and non-impregnated high H2S capacity carbons. The weight on weight H2S capacities for these products can range from 25-50%. Here is the link to our high capacity GC Sulfursorb Plus.

General Carbon also provides filtration systems and customized odor control vessels for hydrogen sulfide removal. Our ES or FS/FD series systems are designed for large airflows while our “The General” Air Pollution Control Barrel series is designed for lower airflows. These filtration units when used in combination with GC Sulfursorb Plus activated carbon provide the user with a complete solution to his H2S filtration requirements. If you should need a custom system, our Engineering Department will be able to design a filter to meet your unique requirements.

Once the media in any system becomes spent and requires changeout, General Carbon can also provide a complete turnkey service.

Historically, most public water supplies have been treated with chlorine to satisfy the standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974. Since being established, there is reason to believe that the standards may be too lenient on the allowable contaminant levels in our drinking water. For instance, chlorine and other disinfectants react with organic matter creating carcinogenic by-products1. Some municipalities and water treatment facilities do not treat the water to remove these harmful by-products.

Chloramine, a chemical compound composed of chlorine and ammonia, has been gaining in popularity as an alternative disinfectant. Unfortunately, chloramine is not without harmful side-effects. These include compromises of the immune system, respiratory problems such as congestion, asthma and lung damage, increases in deaths from influenza and pneumonia, skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, digestive problems and kidney and blood disorders.3

Using activated carbon in conjunction with chlorine is typically a cost-effective way to treat drinkable water efficiently. Zaid Chowdhury in Activated Carbon: Solutions for Improving Water Quality states that, “By reducing organics in the treated water, the [granular activated carbon] treatment system substantially reduces the amount of chlorine required in the system. Experience indicates a reduction [in chlorine use] of about 60 percent, which represents a savings of approximately $200,000 in 2008 annual operating costs” in a typical municipal system. Depending on the type of system utilized, there are a variety of activated carbons including powdered and granular which are effective for the treatment of potable drinking water. Some of these products are GC Watercarb, GC 8×30 and GC 12x40S, which are sold by General Carbon.

Until recent years, there has not been an activated carbon product that would effectively treat chloramines, trihalomethanes and other similar chemical compounds. General Carbon has recently developed a specialized catalytic activated carbon, GC 12x30SCI, which successfully removes these compounds through its enhanced microporosity.

As can be seen, disinfecting drinking water supplies through the use of chlorine and chloramines is not always the perfect solution to keeping our water pure and safe. However, the implementation of an activated carbon treatment system in conjunction with these disinfectants can go a long way to solving these problems.