Atlas Carbon, LLC.


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March 21, 2016 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Activated Carbon for Vapor Phase, Mercury Capture and the Liquid Municipal Water Markets



Michael A. Jones



Atlas Carbon, LLC.


Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – March 21, 2016


CEOCFO: Mr. Jones, what is the idea behind Atlas Carbon?

Mr. Jones: We produce quality activated carbon for the vapor phase mercury capture market as well as the liquid municipal water market.


CEOCFO: What does quality activated carbon mean?

Mr. Jones: That it has excellent performance and the quality is consistent. Each application has its own unique characteristics that need to be met to provide not only adequate performance but at the best value, which means at a cost and volume that make the most sense to the customer.


CEOCFO: Would you give us an example of what might be different in the carbon from one industry to another and how do you create those different levels?

Mr. Jones: There are different methods of producing activated carbon and there are different feed stocks available. You have coal based carbon, which we are predominately involved in producing. There are also cellulose based carbons made from wood, bamboo and coconut. Those are your primary feed stocks available for production of activated carbon. Activated carbon itself is taking something that is carbon based and developing porosity in a manner that it can capture specific organic and inorganic elements. The primary purpose of activated carbon is adsorption of impurities. That is the phenomena that activated carbon is used for predominately. There are other applications but that is the primary one. The differences within this industry and between liquid or vapor adsorption differ between pollutants.

CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the state of the art production that you show on your site?

Mr. Jones: Our production method varies from other production methods. We use transport reactor technology that allows the carbon to see a uniform activation regime which allows us to control the characteristics to a very repeatable extent. We are able to tailor some of the activating gas conditions very rapidly and it allows us to take advantage of the inherent porosity in the feedstock. It also allows us to be able to repeat and have the consistency that is required so that what you are producing today is the same as you will be producing tomorrow and as you were producing last month. Consistency of our product is important to our customers and that is one of the main drivers.


CEOCFO: Are there newer methods or equipment that you implement?

Mr. Jones: We have patented technology based on transport reactor flows. In addition to our furnace being unique there is a lot of existing industrial know how that goes into making activated carbon. No two carbon plants are identical, so there is a great deal of art involved. We call them engineering preferences.

CEOCFO: Do customers in the various industries understand the difference about Atlas Carbon?

Mr. Jones: Our customers are starting to get it. One thing that is interesting about our entrance into the market is that our facility is considerably smaller than most of our competitors. We are not starting with such a large percentage of the market that we are going to be known on the east coast right away. We have a geographical advantage and while we do have a good cost position, our production is finite, so that will tend to keep us in a closer geographic region. The differences in the way that we produce carbon yields some advantages that we think will eventually become known throughout the marketplace. That is initially where we are starting and not all of our potential customers are fully aware of the differences. They are more end result oriented. As long as we are performing well and are the best value, we are meeting their primary concern.


CEOCFO: Why are you in the Powder River Basin? What are the advantages?

Mr. Jones: The Powder River Basin has distinct advantages. The availability of the lowest cost coal in the country and feedstock is one of the largest costs of activated carbon production. Being located at a low cost source is extremely valuable. Also because of the volume produced in the Powder River Basin the overall consistency is unmatched in the industry. Because production is so immense, in the hundreds of millions of tons a year, it allows the feed stock material to be reliably consistent in its composition and quality. The cost and consistency gives us that edge that we need compared to our competitors. Powder River Basin coal helps Atlas excel in both production cost and quality.


CEOCFO: What surprised you as Atlas has grown and evolved?

Mr. Jones: The surprise has been the amount of testing power plants require before making their purchasing decisions.  We thought results from similar plants would satisfy their due diligence requirements, but no, we have seen that everyone wants their own tests. To that end we built our own robust field testing equipment to use at customers’ sites when required. We have had numerous opportunities to use our test equipment and successfully meet compliance at multiple power plants.

CEOCFO: How do you get attention from potential customers?

Mr. Jones: The initial market being the vapor phase market is different from the municipal water market. With the municipal water markets, the contracts come up very regularly. Many of them are open bids. It is a different kind of market with much smaller volumes. In the vapor phase market these are large consumers. Your conventional media marketing does not work. You need personal contacts. We call it boots on the ground. You need to meet and greet and ultimately, customers buy product from who they are familiar with, know that your product works and you have a favorable price. When the relationship is built with trust and value you are likely to get an agreement in place. If they do not know you, even if you have a good price, they are inclined to pick someone they have more familiarity with. Building relationships based on value and trust is how we market. Simply advertising in a magazine does not resonate well. The customers have become tone deaf when it comes to carbon producers right now. What they hear is that everyone’s carbon works great, everyone’s carbon is the most economical, everyone’s carbon is what the customer needs. In order to distinguish yourself, you have to demonstrate, be there and you need to be real in order to get their attention.

CEOCFO: Why does Atlas Carbon standout?

Mr. Jones: We have a very strong performing carbon. We have consistently tested and met compliance at very favorable injection rates. Ours production costs are some of the lowest in the industry. Those two things, performance and value are what the customers are interested in. In addition, we have a very robust operation and that satisfies our customers. They need reliability. We produce our own carbon. Unlike many who are just resellers. We think our unique process using PRB coal, with its advantageous quality and price, are the distinguishing factors that will lead to our success in the marketplace.



“We think our unique process using PRB coal, with its advantageous quality and price, are the distinguishing factors that will lead to our success in the marketplace.” - Michael A. Jones


Atlas Carbon, LLC.


Brooke C Levy







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