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Activated carbon is known as activated charcoal which is a form of processed carbon. It is made to have small, low-volume pores to increase the surface area available for adsorption. It is mainly used in the methane and hydrogen storage, air purification solvent recovery, metal extraction, medical and many other liquid phase and gas phase applications. The activated carbon serves various functions such as it purifies the liquids and gases in a various application such as municipal drinking water, food & beverages processing and industrial pollution control. These carbons are made from coconuts, nutshells, coal, peat, and wood, the carbonaceous source materials. Similarly, organic material with high carbon content is used as raw material for activated carbon. Global activated carbon market was valued at USD 4.9 billion in 2020.

Market Drivers

The activated carbon is used in the water treatment, food & beverages industry, pharmaceutical & medical, automotive, industrial, metal extraction and other end use industries. The rising demand of activated carbon in the various end use industries is likely to propel the activated carbon market. In metal finishing, the activated carbon is used for the purification of electroplating solutions. The impurities generated during metal finishing, activated carbon remove such impurities and restores plating performance to the desired level. Due to such strength provided by this product the demand for activated carbon is increasing with increasing use of metal finishing in industrial applications. 

Additionally, the rising concern of consumers about the health will fuels the market of activated carbon. The various diseases are due to the impurity of drinking water. So, the need for the purification of water in increasing. It is estimated that around 1.2 billion people means one-fifth of the global population is living in such parts with physical scarcity and drinking water-related issues. Nearly 1.6 billion people which means one-fourth of the global population faces the shortage of water and have less water sources. World Health Organization reported that around 51% of the population in India and China had no access to clean drinking water in 2012. Such kind of issues are making the focus of the government towards the water treatment solution. Hence, propelling the growth of activated carbon market in the forecast period.

Further, increasing strict government regulations for air quality and municipal water treatment will increase the demand for the activated carbon market. The focus of manufacturers is on the production of reactivated carbon because of the pricing issues of activated carbon. The rising raw materials prices will increase the production cost of the product. Hence, the alternative product which is economical and environment friendly has the more preference.

The powdered activated carbon segment is the fastest growing type of activated carbon. In terms of application, gas phase application is the fastest growing due to the mercury removal, hydrogen sulfide removal, chlorine removal application in thus segment.

Global Activated Carbon Market Segmentation

By Type

  • Powdered Activated Carbon
  • Polymer Coated Activated Carbon
  • Granular Activated Carbon
  • Bead Activated Carbon
  • Extruded or Pelletized Activated Carbon
  • Others

By Application

  • Liquid Phase Applications
    • Water Treatment
    • Food & Beverages Industry
    • Pharmaceutical & Medical  
    • Others
  • Gas Phase Applications  
    • Automotive
    • Industrial
    • Others
  • Metal Extraction
  • Medicine
  • Others

By Region

  • North America
  • Asia-Pacific
  • Europe
  • South America
  • Middle East & Africa

Regional Insights

Asia Pacific region has the largest share in the activated carbon market. The growing waste water industry will proliferate the Asia pacific activated carbon market.  India is home to 17.5 percent of the world’s population, but only has 4% of the world’s water resources at its disposal. The water demand is growing as the new industries are coming up in India. The government is also taking initiatives to create smart cities. ‘Swach Bharat’ or Clean India such projects in India will create new opportunities for the new companies to invest in India's water treatment industry. Such factor will be the driving force for activated carbon market in Asia pacific. Further, the exponential growth in China's population, India and other Asian countries will take a surge in the market.

In North America, due to rising demand in air purification industry U.S. is the leading country. Further, the exponential growth of activated coal industry in North America is the major driving factor.

In terms of employment and revenue, food & beverages industry is the largest manufacturing sector. Further, the government stringent guidelines in the Europe will create growth opportunities for the activated carbon market. In Latin America, Mexico is the leading country in the market.  Pharmaceutical & medical industry is increasing in Mexico due to which the demand for the activated carbon is more. Demand for the oil exploration and industrial activities in Middle East & Africa will proliferate the market growth.

Few Key Players in Global Activated Carbon Market:

-Calgon Carbon Corporation (US)

-Osaka Gas Co. Ltd (Japan)

-Cabot Corporation (U.S)

-Haycarb Plc. (Sri Lanka)

-Kuraray Chemical Co. Ltd (Japan)

-KUREHA CORPORATION (Japan)

-Donau Carbon GmbH (Germany)

-Silcarbon Aktivkohle GmbH (Germany)

-Oxbow Activated Carbon LLC (U.S)

-Prominent Systems, Inc. (US)

-Other Players

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