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The Elements of ELSCOLAB: carbon

Blog post Elscolab - The Elements of ELSCOLAB: carbon

Carbon, with the chemical symbol "C", is the building block of every living creature. From single-celled all the way up to us, humans. But that’s not all. All organic products such as sugars, proteins, fats, and also fuels and plastics: they all have carbon as their main component. When organic substances are burned - in an oven, and also by living organisms that need energy to live, grow and move - CO2 is released. The other side of the coin is that too much organically bound carbon gives rise to pollution.


You can find carbon everywhere and in just about everything. It is impossible and usually unnecessary to individually analyse all substances that contain carbon. The total amount of carbon is sufficient. That may be expressed as TOC, Total Organic Carbon. TOC may be determined online in extremely low quantities in ultra pure water (UPW) for pharmaceutical purposes and water to make steam in power stations. TOC is also measured online for waste water. There is a separate analyser for each application.

Pure water

Pharmaceutical installations must be clean. That much is clear. There are therefore various international guidelines that regulate the maximum allowable TOC. This has to be continuously monitored. The same applies to power plants. Organic pollution leads to loss of efficiency and damage to the installations. International standards for TOC have also been laid down for this.

The amount of TOC that is permitted in these types of pure water is extremely low. We are talking about a few micrograms per litre, or ppb. ELSCOLAB has analysers that can handle this low measuring range perfectly and analyse the TOC "in real time". The analysis, based on UV oxidation is easy to use. The analysers are extremely maintenance-friendly. They tell you in advance when intervention is needed. Just like its predecessors, the newest 6000TOCi, meets the strictest international standards.

And "dirty" water

We want to clean our streams, ponds and rivers and also keep them clean. For this purpose, the amount of organic contamination must be limited, i.e. the TOC. The permitted amount of TOC is much higher than for the pure water used in the pharmaceutical industry or power stations. That’s why ELSCOLAB has analysis systems and sensors that are specifically intended for wastewater and surface water. These systems can also be used in potable water applications. The spectroscopy-based analysers from S::CAN may be used in all situations, such as in open channels and pipes under pressure. For special applications and specialists there is still the classic UV persulphate method.

Carbon analysis and more specifically, carbon in organic form, expressed as TOC, has no secrets for us. We are happy to help you with advice and practical solutions in all circumstances.

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