The technology of producing activated carbon from gilsonite or natural bitumen, which is the need of many industries to produce the product, has never existed in Iran. And in recent years it has been developed by researchers on a laboratory and semi-industrial scale.
For more than a decade, research activities have focused on this area.
The laboratory pilot of this product was implemented in 2010 with the cooperation of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, and Jihad Daneshgahi confirmed the beginning of its semi-industrial pilot in 2016 as a technology project.
Activated carbon is a type of carbon adsorbent that has many pores and can be used as an adsorbent of contaminants in gas and liquid substrates.
For example, to treat effluents, it is passed through carbon adsorbents or used to change the color of sugarcane in sugar mills.
Activated carbon refers to a group of carbon materials with high porosity and internal surface area, which are unique due to their significant internal area, hollow and porous structure, high adsorption capacity, surface reactivation capability and low price compared to inorganic attractions such as zeolite. .
Their important application is in separating odors, colors, unwanted tastes from water in domestic and industrial operations, solvent recycling, air purification, especially in restaurants, food and chemical industries.
Iran ranks third in the world in terms of volume and number of bitumen mines; Mines that are mostly spread in the west and southwest of the country, such as the bitumen mine of Mad, and Kermanshah, has about 80% of them. The main material of these mines is the residue of crude oil, which has reached the surface layers over millions of years with the movement of the earth’s layers.
Before the success of the University Jihad researchers, the materials obtained from these mines were used as additives in the production of refinery bitumen or were exported to other countries in the form of powder and lumps.
Meanwhile, the country’s annual need for activated carbon is about 14,000 tons per year, of which only 2,000 tons are produced domestically.
Activated carbon made of bitumen has a high density and with a spherical volume is used in the manufacture of products and products of many industries such as pharmaceuticals, military, water and wastewater, oil and gas and petrochemicals.
Production of activated carbon has already been done in the country with plant base.
Different provinces, according to their capacity in agricultural waste, produce this substance from different plant parts such as walnut and pistachio bark, rice husk, wood, etc.
However, the production of activated carbon from gilsonite or natural bitumen has limited applications due to its low density and special volumes, and its imported type, which has a mineral base and is made of coal, is in a better position in Iran’s industrial production.
At present, the semi-industrial production line of activated carbon from bitumen with a production capacity of 100 tons per year is on the verge of obtaining a production license and environmental approval and is ready for operation, and all its equipment has been built and supplied with the help of the private sector in the country.
The semi-industrial production line of activated carbon from natural bitumen will be introduced as one of the achievements of the University Jihad last year, at the anniversary of the establishment of this complex.