Home Speciality Chemicals Activated Carbon Market Size, Share and Forecast to 2031

Activated Carbon Market

Activated Carbon Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Powdered Activated Carbon, Granular Activated Carbon, Extruded Activated Carbon, Others), By Applications (Air Purification, Water Purification, Industrial Chemicals, Metal Extraction, Pharmaceuticals, Automotive, Food and Beverage, Catalyst, Others) and By Region(North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa, LATAM) Forecasts, 2023-2031

Report Code: SRSC2649DR
Study Period 2019-2031 CAGR 8.79%
Historical Period 2019-2021 Forecast Period 2023-2031
Base Year 2022 Base Year Market Size USD 5,349 Million
Forecast Year 2031 Forecast Year Market Size USD 11418 Million
Largest Market Asia-Pacific Fastest Growing Market North America
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Market Overview

The global activated carbon market size was valued at USD 5,349 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 11,418 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 8.79% during the forecast period (2023–2031).

A carbonaceous substance called activated carbon has a significant internal surface area and a highly developed porous structure. The product can absorb various compounds from liquids and gases because it is porous. This adsorption property of the activated carbon makes it practical to eliminate dangerous gases and substances from flue gas, natural gas, industrial waste effluents, and other sources. The primary uses for the product are air filtration systems, decaffeination, gold purification, metal extraction, gas purification, and pharmaceuticals. Additionally, powdered activated carbon can often be challenging to dig out water treatment reservoirs and cannot be reactivated after use. Therefore, the drawbacks of activated carbon as a filter limit market expansion.

Market Dynamics

Global Activated Carbon Market Drivers:

High Demand in the Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Industry

In the pharmaceutical industry, activated carbon is used to separate and clean suspensions (usually solvent-based) and to influence reaction processes. It removes color and impurities during the production of vitamins such as A, D, E, K, B, C, H, and folic acid. They purify painkillers, such as acetaminophen, caffeine, paracetamol, and salicylic acid. Continuous investments made by pharmaceutical and outsourcing firms to expand their manufacturing facilities have positively impacted the market.

Activated carbon is used to treat cholestasis during pregnancy and to lower cholesterol levels. It is used as an anti-flatulent during abdominal radiography procedures. It is also used in treating kidney disorders for blood dialysis as a filtering medium and is incorporated in wound dressings to control odor. The rising health concerns associated with the sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits are likely to increase the number of patients suffering from various diseases, which is expected to boost the demand for implantable surgeries, further fueling the growth of the global market. Drugs will drive this growth for rare diseases, diabetes, obesity, HIV, COPD, cancer drugs, and immune stimulants, which have more inelastic requirements.

Increasing Demand for Activated Carbon in Water Treatment Applications

Water taste and odor components, natural organic chemicals, and synthetic organic contaminants are frequently removed from drinking water using activated carbon. It is an effective adsorbent because it is highly porous and provides a large surface area to which contaminants may adsorb. Water softening procedures can also use activated carbon. In addition, heavy metals, such as lead, can only be removed with a particular kind of activated carbon water treatment, typically used only in residential point-of-use filters.

Major manufacturing industries, such as chemicals, oil and gas, food and beverage, mining, and textiles, generate a large amount of wastewater daily. This water contains several contaminants, such as non-biodegradable chemicals, organic matter, and traces of metals and oxides. This contamination necessitates the need for treating the effluent water because, if not treated, the contaminated water may cause gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, nausea, dehydration, and even death. In addition, there is a greater need for clean, safe water as there are more people and pollutants. This need is expected to increase the demand for graphene.

In recent years, the need for activated carbon in drinking water treatment, groundwater restoration, and service water treatment has increased significantly because of its excellent adsorption properties. These factors are expected to boost the demand for the product in water treatment applications and fuel the global market growth during the forecast period.

Global Activated Carbon Market Restraint:

Disadvantages of Activated Carbon as a Filter

Activated carbon filters don't eliminate chemicals that do not stick to carbon, like sodium, nitrates, heavy metals, and fluoride. When the bonding sites get filled with contaminants, activated carbon filters stop working and need frequent replacements. Moreover, these filters are ineffective against some pathogenic bacteria and viruses and can harbor bacteria, leading to bacterial growth. All these factors reduce the efficiency of the filter. Also, powdered activated carbon can often be challenging to dig out of water treatment reservoirs and cannot be reactivated after use. Therefore, the drawbacks of activated carbon as a filter limit market expansion.

Global Activated Carbon Market Opportunities:

Increasing Demand for Reactivated Carbo8.79

Reactivation, also known as regeneration, is a method of thermally processing the activated carbon to destroy the adsorbed components on its surface. In regeneration, the adsorbed components are almost entirely removed, yielding a regenerated carbon that can again function as an adsorbent. Impurities present within the pores of the spent carbon are desorbed and subsequently destroyed in a thermal oxidizer and scrubber system, leaving a regenerated carbon adsorbent that can be reused in its original application.

Some benefits of regenerating activated carbon include its environmental benefits and reduced costs. Using regenerated carbon over new activated carbon is a more sustainable approach, incurring fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the production and use of new activated carbon. This approach also complies with the local environmental guidelines and EPA regulations. Moreover, regeneration eliminates the disposal costs and liabilities associated with otherwise disposing of the spent carbon. Ecological concerns, changing regulations, and increasing costs related to virgin-grade activated carbons are among the key drivers shifting the demand towards reactivation rather than traditional disposal methods, such as landfilling. Thus, the increasing demand for reactivated carbon is anticipated to create lucrative market growth.

Regional Analysis

Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market

By region, the global activated carbon market is divided into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.

Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global activated carbon market and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 10.49% during the forecast period. The robust growth of the chemicals, food and beverage, and energy industries in China, India, and Indonesia fuels the demand for activated carbon. China is the leading producer and consumer of activated carbon globally and the major electric vehicle producer in the world. The expected rise in consumption of the product in energy storage and pharmaceutical applications is likely to drive the regional market growth in the following years. The increasing need for water purification and reuse in the region's industrial sector due to water scarcity will likely boost demand for the product in the coming years. In addition, the expansion of the automotive industry in the region and the increasing use of activated carbon to curb the gaseous emissions from automobiles are projected to propel the regional market growth during the forecast period.

North America is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.27% over the forecast period. The rising pressure from the EPA and the US government over the industries to reduce mercury emissions will likely boost the demand for activated carbon in the region. In addition, the availability of advanced technologies and the high need for water purification in the US industrial sector are favoring regional market growth. Furthermore, large-scale product consumption in water purification applications drives the regional market growth.

In Europe, the stringent government regulations related to toxic gas emissions and industrial water reuse gaining momentum are the key drivers of the regional market. Industries are increasingly adopting onsite water reuse in Europe, mainly driven by the need to reduce pollution and energy conservation. Additionally, widespread usage of the product for decolorization in the food and beverage business in developed nations like Germany, the Netherlands, and Russia will help the European market grow.

The market's growth in Latin America is mainly attributed to the high consumption of activated carbon in water purification applications. Latin America is considered a water-rich region, but water quality is a significant issue, which is expected to boost demand for activated carbon for water purification purposes. Moreover, most wastewater is treated using activated carbon for reuse in agricultural irrigation, driving market growth. Furthermore, automotive air pollution is a significant concern in the region, which is expected to fuel demand for the product in emission control from automobiles and favor market growth soon.

The primary user of activated carbon in the Middle East and Africa is the oil and gas sector, which is also one of the region's most influential businesses. The region is one of the world's leading crude oil producers and natural gas reserves. It requires activated carbon to remove heavy polynuclear aromatics (HPNA) during the hydrocracking process, remove mercury and its reacted byproducts from the natural gas and refinery feed streams, and desulfurization of natural gas. Moreover, investments in the oil & gas industry in the region to boost crude oil and natural gas production are expected to fuel the demand for activated carbon for air purification purposes in the following years.

Report Scope

Report Metric Details
By Type
  1. Powdered Activated Carbon
  2. Granular Activated Carbon
  3. Extruded Activated Carbon
  4. Others
By Applications
  1. Air Purification
  2. Water Purification
  3. Industrial Chemicals
  4. Metal Extraction
  5. Pharmaceuticals
  6. Automotive
  7. Food and Beverage
  8. Catalyst
  9. Others
Company Profiles Cabot Corporation Osaka Gas Chemicals Co. Ltd Kuraray Co. Ltd Haycarb (Pvt) Ltd Kureha Corporation Donau Carbon GmbH DESOTEC Activated Carbon Oxbow Activated Carbon Silcarbon Aktivkohle GmbH Karbonous Inc Lenntech BV
Geographies Covered
North America U.S. Canada
Europe U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
APAC China Korea Japan India Australia Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
LATAM Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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Segmental Analysis

The global activated carbon market is segmented into type and application.

By type, the global activated carbon market is divided into powdered activated carbon, granulated activated carbon, extruded activated carbon, and others.

The powdered activated carbon segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.17% during the forecast period. Powdered activated carbon has a smaller particle size than other types, providing a larger surface-to-volume ratio and better adsorption ability. It is widely used for the de-chlorination of water, mercury removal from power plant emissions, removal of organic contaminants from wastewater, drinking water treatment, groundwater remediation, and taste and odor removal from water used in the food and beverage industry. The increasing demand for powdered activated carbon to remove mercury and cleanse water is expected to propel the expansion of the global market during the forecast period.

Granulated activated carbon has larger particles than powdered activated carbon and is good at letting things move through it. This property of fast diffusion makes it suitable for the adsorption of gases and vapors from industrial emissions. The rising awareness regarding air pollution globally is likely to boost demand for granulated activated carbon in the coming years. In addition, it is widely used in the food and beverage industry to decolorize sugar solutions, vegetable oils and fats, liquor, and fruit concentrates, among others.

By application, the global activated carbon market is divided into water purification, air purification, food and beverage, industrial chemicals, metal extraction, pharmaceuticals, automotive, catalyst, and others.

The water purification segment owns the highest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.67% over the forecast period. The segment is expected to register healthy growth because of the rise in demand for activated carbon in water treatment due to its easy maintenance, natural filter media, and low cost. It helps remove organic compounds and extract free chlorine from water, making it suitable for manufacturing processes. Additionally, it adsorbs synthetic organic chemicals, humic and fulvic acid, and taste and odor compounds. It also treats sewage water and waste effluents released from industries. Activated carbon filtration is a preferred water treatment technique due to its multifunctional nature.

The air purification segment is growing due to the adoption of granular and powdered activated carbon in VOCs' adsorption from the air, natural gas purification, and removal of H2S and BTX. Activated carbon is highly porous, inert, and safe to handle. It is used in flue gas cleaning at waste incineration plants to remove heavy metals and dioxins. In addition, it is used in gas masks, cigarettes, air conditioning, refrigerator filters, and kitchen exhaust hoods. Furthermore, powdered activated carbon is widely used in flue gas treatment for mercury removal from cement kilns, waste incinerators, coal-fired generators, and industrial boilers.

Market Size By Type

Recent Developments

  • November 2022- Cabot Corporation introduced the LITX® 93 series of conductive carbon additives (CCA) for use in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles (EV), energy storage applications, and consumer electronics. Due to the way the particles in the LITX 93 series are shaped and how well they can be spread out, lithium-ion batteries can have a high energy density and a high rate of charge and discharge.
  • October 2022- Cabot Corporation raised the prices of carbon black products sold by its specialty carbons worldwide, starting with all shipments on or after November 6, 2022, or as per contract. The rise in raw material costs and other production-related costs necessitates this price increase. The increase and timing will vary by product and geography.

Top Key Players

Cabot Corporation Osaka Gas Chemicals Co. Ltd Kuraray Co. Ltd Haycarb (Pvt) Ltd Kureha Corporation Donau Carbon GmbH DESOTEC Activated Carbon Oxbow Activated Carbon Silcarbon Aktivkohle GmbH Karbonous Inc Lenntech BV Others

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the growth rate for the Activated Carbon Market?
Activated Carbon Market size will grow at approx. CAGR of 2.76% during the forecast period.
Some of the top industry players in Activated Carbon Market are, Osaka Gas Co. Ltd. (Japan), Cabot Corporation (US), Kuraray Co. Ltd. (Japan), Haycarb Plc (Sri Lanka), Kureha Corporation (Japan), etc.
Asia-Pacific has held a dominant position in the Activated Carbon Market, with the largest market share.
The North America region has experienced the highest growth rate in the Activated Carbon Market.
The global Activated Carbon Market report is segmented as follows: By Type, By Application, By End User

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