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The global activated carbon market size was valued at USD 4.77 billion in 2021. The market is projected to grow from USD 4.98 billion in 2022 to USD 7.73 billion in 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period. The global COVID-19 pandemic has been unprecedented and staggering, with activated carbon experiencing higher-than-anticipated demand across all regions compared to pre-pandemic levels. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a higher growth of 1.5% in 2020 as compared to 2019.
Activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal, is used in various industrial applications such as gas and air cleaning, involving reusable recovery. Growing environmental concerns and awareness have led to strict emissions guidelines. This, in turn, has encouraged several manufacturers to invest in developed technologies and advanced concepts for the use of the product in applications such as cleaning and air treatment. It is increasingly used for water treatment such as drinking water, service water, groundwater, and wastewater.
The primary role of the product is for adsorption of dissolved organic impurities and elimination of substances that affect the odor and taste. The adoption of Activated Carbon Injection (ACI) technology has provided cost-effective methods for the purification process. These methods are majorly used in cement kilns and power plants for reducing mercury emissions. Growing pollution on account of emissions caused during product manufacturing has been a significant factor driving the market.
Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic to Decline Activated Charcoal Production
The recent coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a decrease in global productivity and affected several economies across the world. The stagnant nature of manufacturing units has led to a reduction in the production rate. This has led to reduced availability of activated charcoal globally. It is majorly used for water treatment in industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.
Strict measures taken to curb the spread of the disease have affected industrial activities across regions. Temporary shutdown of production facilities has reduced the usage of the product in industrial wastewater treatment. To overcome the decline in product sales and rising awareness toward protection from the virus, governments from major developed countries, such as the U.S., Germany, the U.K., and other countries invested enormous sums to set up more efficient water and wastewater treatment plants. Additionally, rising air pollution due to various factors such as vehicles and CO2 emissions has led to the adoption of air purification procedures that slowly contribute to the growth of the activated charcoal market.
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Growing Demand for Product in Air & Gas Purification to Strengthen Market Growth
Activated charcoal is an excellent choice for air & gas purification due to its high adsorption potential for a wide variety of molecules ranging from odorous compounds to carcinogenic impurities. It eliminates harmful impurities from the air streams in applications such as personal safety and home air purification, delivering clean, and non-hazardous air. The product is also used for biogas treatment and hydrogen separation. It minimizes the manufacturing costs by shielding downstream equipment such as engines, catalysts, and fuel cells from corrosive silicon dioxide and increasing output yields.
Most processing plants are expected to reduce the emissions of hazardous or odorous compounds from the air. Activated charcoal air-treatment systems is one of the most effective technologies available for both organic and inorganic compound purification. Exposure to volatile organic compounds from workplaces to home environments is a major health issue.
Increasing Demand for the Product in Water Treatment Application to Aid Market Growth
The product demand is increasing with the rising need for clean and safe potable water. The market's growth can be attributed to the product's property of having a high surface area available for adsorption that easily removes impurities such as oils, microbes, odor & taste imparting substances, and chemicals. For example, Carbon Activated Corp. provides industrial solutions, municipal groundwater filter systems in the U.S., and VOC/siloxane removal systems in biogas engines all over Europe. Exponentially rising population is also leading to high consumer demand for freshwater, which has led to an increased demand for water purification.
Increasing levels of water pollution have compelled government authorities to implement stringent regulations on treating industrial wastewater. This has directed many industries, such as paper & pulp, chemicals, and paints & dyes, to incorporate water treatment units in their facilities, thereby increasing the demand for charcoal to remove pollutants.
Hike in Prices Due to Raw Material Shortage to Impede Market Growth
The scarcity of various raw materials, such as coconut shell charcoal, used for production is a risk factor in the market growth. As a result, the prices of the raw materials have risen mainly from coconut shell charcoal. Coal-based product prices have increased due to higher energy needs. In China, coal is widely used in key application areas such as electricity, cement, and iron & steel plants. This has resulted in a shortage of sufficient coal grades, which are used to manufacture the product. However, the decline in coconut demand has affected the operational output of producers, which has encouraged manufacturers to increase production capacities by 50% to 60%, resulting in product price hikes.
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Granular Type to Exhibit Fastest-growth owing to Increasing Preference from End-Use Industries
On the basis of type, the global market is segmented into powdered, granular, and others.
Among these, Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) is the fastest-growing segment owing to the high demand for the product from several end-use industries such as water treatment and air & gas purification. GAC has a comparatively larger particle size than powdered form, thereby making it suitable for removing contaminants from liquids, air, and gases. GAC is used in the food & beverage industry to remove impurities, odor, and color from sweeteners, syrups, beverages, amino acids, and organic acids. It is also used in wastewater treatment to remove oil, industrial pollutants, heavy metals, and pesticides. Additionally, the growing demand for granular form can be attributable to its easy regeneration and reusability, which leads to overall market growth.
Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) has a particle size smaller than 0.177mm as defined by ASTM; thus, it has a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio. PAC is used to remove a wide range of organic contaminants that impart color, odor, and taste from wastewater, potable water, and water required in industrial processes. It is also used in processes with high flow rates of liquids to minimize capital expenditure. Hence, the major application of PAC is for water treatment.
Water Treatment Segment to Dominate till 2030 Owing to Increasing Industrial Activities
Based on application, the market is categorized into water treatment, air & gas purification, food & beverage, pharmaceutical & healthcare treatment, and others.
The water treatment segment held the largest part in the market share in 2021 and is expected to remain the largest throughout the forecast period. The product is commonly used in water treatment to adsorb organic compounds, odor and taste compounds, toxic substances, and oils. It is widely used due to its high porosity and offers a larger surface area for adsorption. Rising need to treat water throughout the world due to depleting natural resources and increasing number of pollutants is responsible for the activated carbon market growth. Besides, strict norms implemented to treat industrial wastewater are expected to support the segment growth.
In the food & beverage industry, the product is used to remove contaminants such as odor and color imparting substances, heavy metals, toxic components, amino acids, and refining edible oil. Increasing attention of consumers toward food safety and quality is expected to support the market growth. Furthermore, the product has applications in industries to recover various solvents and purification of CO2, waste gases, and control mercury vapor emissions, especially from fossil fuel-based power plants.
The pharmaceutical & healthcare treatment applications of activated charcoal involve the treatment of overdoses, poisoning, indigestion, and flatulence. The segment will showcase significant demand for the product owing to its adsorption characteristics.
Charcoal is used in other applications such as rare metal recovery, energy storage, and specialty chemicals manufacturing. The current rising demand for energy has led to growth in the manufacturing of energy storage devices, thereby increasing the product consumption in batteries.
Asia Pacific Activated Carbon Market Size, 2021 (USD Billion)
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Asia Pacific dominated the market with a value of USD 1.98 billion in 2021. It is expected to remain dominant throughout the forecast period due to China and India being two of the major consuming countries, mainly for water treatment applications. The exponential rise in population in Asia Pacific region has led to an increased need for pure and safe potable water, thereby resulting in increasing demand for activated charcoal. Additionally, ease of availability of raw materials and their low costs are expected to support the growth of the market.
In North America, the U.S. led the market due to increased demand for water and air purification applications. Regulations imposed by the government on the disposal of industrial wastewater and gas emissions have led to the growth in the use of the product for removing contaminants such as CO2, mercury vapors, and other toxic gases.
In Europe, stringent standards and guidelines, and government initiatives to safeguard the environment have resulted in the surge in demand for applications, including water treatment, mercury absorption, and air purification. In addition, regulations have also influenced automotive manufacturers to use activated charcoal to minimize emissions from the vehicle. This is expected to create several growth opportunities for activated carbon in Europe.
The market in Latin America is expected to observe significant growth in the coming years. Mexico is the major country in this region. Increasing product consumption in the water purification and pharmaceutical industries for deodorization and decolorization is projected to drive the market.
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In the Middle East & Africa, low water availability, increasing oil exploration, and industrial activities are the key factors influencing the demand for purification applications and driving the activated charcoal market growth.
Key Market Players to Strengthen their Position by Providing Sustainability Solutions to Various Industries
Major producers, such as Kuraray Co., Ltd. and Cabot Corporation, have a widespread presence around the globe. They offer various types of activated charcoal products. Kuraray Co., Ltd. and Cabot Corporation used acquisition and new product developments as their key strategies to increase their global presence and serve the customer demand in the market. These companies serve various end-use industries such as water treatment, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, and food & beverage.
Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd. develops and uses technologies to supply various products to meet consumer requirements. These include products with higher performance for special applications in several industries such as air environment, water purification, food, and beverages.
In January 2019, Calgon Carbon Corporation announced the global price increase on all carbon products and other related equipment. This price increase is due to a continued boom in raw material prices and transportation expenditures. The price increase ranged between 10-15%, depending on the type of material, specific product, and global market dynamics.
An Infographic Representation of Activated Carbon Market
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The research report provides a detailed activated carbon market analysis and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, applications, and types. Also, the report offers insights into activated carbon market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.
Value (USD Billion); Volume (Kiloton)
By Type, Application, and Geography
Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 4.77 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 7.73 billion by 2030.
In 2021, the market size stood at USD 1.98 billion.
Growing at a CAGR of 5.6%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2022-2030).
Water treatment is expected to be the leading segment under the application segment in this market during the forecast period.
Increasing demand for water treatment applications will drive market growth.
Cabot Corporation, Kuraray Co., Ltd., Donau Carbon GmbH, and KUREHA CORPORATION are a few of the leading players in the global market.
Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2021.
Rising demand for packaged beverages and an increasing need for clean water are expected to drive the adoption of the product.
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