Microwave heating principles and the application to the regeneration of granular activated carbon
The principles of microwave heating are discussed with reference to dielectric properties, heating phenomena and microwave equipment. Microwave regeneration of granular activated carbon for the carbon-in-pulp process is examined on a laboratory scale, with special attention being given to highlight the problem areas and specific considerations related to microwave heating. Results indicate that microwave regeneration of carbon with 40% moisture on a wet basis by heating to 650°C with steam addition regenerates the carbon to virgin carbon activity levels but with a higher abrasion resistance. A preliminary economic assessment showed that the capital cost for 120 kg/h microwave unit would be R540 000 with an annual operating cost of R 320/t carbon. These figures yield a return on investment of 12%, The aim of this paper is to provide an introduction to microwave heating and to illustrate its application to the microwave regeneration of granular activated carbon for the carbon-in-pulp (CIP) process.