High Adoption for Wastewater Treatment across Industrial Sectors to Aid Market Growth

Activated carbon finds applications in an array of industrial sectors, including water treatment, food & beverages, pharmaceutical, and personal care. At present, the soaring demand for unadulterated and filtrated fresh water particularly from underdeveloped and developing regions of the world is expected to play a key role in boosting the overall growth of the activated carbon market during the forecast period. The demand for activated carbon for water treatment applications has witnessed a considerable growth over the past few years and the trend is set to continue over the course of the assessment period.

At present, research and development activities are increasingly focusing on the production of activated carbons derived from cheap sources and gradually minimize the adoption of expensive commercial activated carbons. In addition, remediation of wastewater by using activated carbon has gained considerable attention as such advancements in technology play a key role in reducing the production costs of activated carbon and simultaneously the cost of bio-waste disposal. The growing demand for activated carbon in the treatment of various pollutants, including ions, dyes, and a range of organic pollutants is expected to provide a massive boost to the overall growth of the activated carbon market during the study period.

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High Adoption of Activated Carbon in Various End Use Sectors to Boost Market

The growing adoption of activated carbon across various industrial sectors is expected to drive the global activated carbon market in the forthcoming years. Due to exceptional physical and functional properties of activated charcoal, the demand for activated charcoal is likely to grow at a rapid pace during the forecast period. Among various applications, the use of activated carbon to eliminate metal from wastewater is projected to gain considerable traction due to the booming industrial sector that produce metal waste streams. In addition, the regulatory landscape continues to compel industrial participants to invest in wastewater treatment technologies due to which, the demand for activated carbon is likely to grow at a rapid pace. Activated carbon is also used to eliminate unwanted odor, taste, iodine & chlorine residual, and various man-made organic chemicals such as paint thinners and pesticides, among others.

While activated charcoal is increasingly being used in wastewater treatment, the demand for activated carbon from personal care and pharmaceutical sectors is witnessing consistent growth. Activated carbon plays a key role in eliminating poison, bacteria, chemicals, and dirt from the surface of the skin due to which, several companies across the personal care sector are swaying toward using activated charcoal in their products– a factor that is expected to aid activated carbon market growth during the assessment period. In addition, activated charcoal has also garnered considerable attention from cosmetic companies as it eliminates acne, blackheads, and more.

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Across the pharmaceutical sector, activated carbon is provided to individuals suffering from overdose of chemical substances, toxins, and poison, among others. Across the food & beverages sector, the adsorption technology is increasingly being used to treat liquids. In addition, activated carbon in the powdered form is used for de-colorization purposes and eliminating impurities, including organic compounds.

At present, market participants are increasingly focusing on the production of various grades of activated carbon for use in different applications.

Demand for Activated Carbon on Rise amid COVID-19 Pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have a moderate impact on the activated carbon market. While the demand from the food & beverages sector is expected to witness a gradual decline, the demand for activated carbon to manufacture activated carbon filter masks is increasing. The demand for personal protective equipment around the world amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has witnessed an exponential growth due to which, activated carbon filter masks is witnessing rise in demand providing abundant opportunities for participants operating in the activated carbon market. Several studies have increasingly indicated that carbon filters in masks play a key role in improving lung capacity and respiratory muscles due to which, the demand for activated carbon is expected to grow at a considerable pace during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Analysts’ Viewpoint

The global activated carbon market is projected to grow at a CAGR of ~8% during the forecast period. The market growth can be largely driven by the soaring demand for activated carbon from a host of industrial sectors, including pharmaceutical, food & beverages, and cosmetic. The increasing focus on wastewater treatment by municipalities in various regions of the world is another major factor that will provide an impetus for growth of the global activated carbon market during the assessment period. Market players are expected to focus on the opportunities across the healthcare sector amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as the demand for activated carbon filter masks has witnessed rapid growth over the past few months.

Analysts’ Viewpoint

The global activated carbon market is projected to grow at a CAGR of ~8% during the forecast period. The market growth can be largely driven by the soaring demand for activated carbon from a host of industrial sectors, including pharmaceutical, food & beverages, and cosmetic. The increasing focus on wastewater treatment by municipalities in various regions of the world is another major factor that will provide an impetus for growth of the global activated carbon market during the assessment period. Market players are expected to focus on the opportunities across the healthcare sector amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as the demand for activated carbon filter masks has witnessed rapid growth over the past few months.

Activated Carbon Market: Overview

  • In terms of value, the activated carbon market is expected to reach US$ 7.3 Bn by 2030
  • Increase in demand for activated carbon, owing to its wide applicability is anticipated to boost the global activated carbon market during the forecast period
  • Air purification is projected to be a highly lucrative application segment of the global activated carbon market in the near future

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Activated Carbon Market: Key Drivers and Restraints

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.4 million people, mostly children, die annually due to water-related diseases. Across the globe, 844 million people lack basic pure drinking water supply. Increase in water scarcity, climate change, and population growth are various hurdles in providing safe and pure drinking water. Rise in awareness about drinking safe and pure water is boosting the demand for water filters. This, in turn, has propelled the demand for activated carbon, as they are used to remove impurities from water.
  • Stringent regulations imposed by various governments across the globe are augmenting the demand for air filtration processes. Coal-fired power plants is a major application of air filtration. These plants emit high levels of mercury. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has enacted regulations for mercury emissions and other toxic emissions as a part of the Clean Air Act. This has increased the need for air purification. In turn, this is driving the demand for activated carbon.
  • Several researchers are conducting research on pros and cons of activated carbon in food products. Activated charcoal used in food products can lead to decreased absorption of vitamins, lower absorption of drugs, and gastrointestinal side effects. Thus, disadvantages of use of activated carbon in food products can hamper the global activated carbon market during the forecast period.

Activated Carbon Market: Key Raw Material

  • Based on raw material, the global activated carbon market has been divided into coal based, coconut shell based, wood based, and others
  • In terms of value and volume, coal based is a prominent segment of the global activated carbon market. Coal-based activated carbon has high surface area characterized by mesopores and micropores. Demand for coal-based activated carbon is high compared to other raw materials due to its low-cost filter media.

Activated Carbon Market: Prominent Applications

  • Based on application, the global activated carbon market has been classified into water & wastewater treatment, air purification, food & beverages, industrial chemicals, pharmaceuticals, automotive, mining, and others. The water & wastewater treatment segment is likely to expand at a rapid pace in the near future, as it is a leading consumer of activated carbon.

Activated Carbon Market: Prominent Developments

  • In February 2020, General Carbon Corporation announced plans to build a new activated carbon manufacturing facility in the U.S. The new plant is expected to produce granular and pelletized activated carbon. This move is anticipated to help the company meet the rising demand for activated carbon among customers across the globe.
  • In October 2018, Cabot Corporation announced that it had acquired NSCC Carbon (Jiangsu) Co., Ltd. from Nippon Steel Carbon Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Nippon Steel Chemical & Material Co., Ltd. The carbon black manufacturing facility in Pizhou, Jiangsu Province, China, was originally commissioned in 2015. The 50,000 metric ton plant is estimated to support Cabot Corporation’s specialty carbons product line in the Purification Solutions segment. The acquisition would help the company expand its presence in the activated carbon market in Asia Pacific.
  • In July 2016, Donau Carbon GmbH, a global producer and distributor of activated carbon products and subsidiary of Donau Chemie AG, announced the merger of its U.S. activities with Standard Purification, a manufacturer of activated carbon products. The merged companies would operate as ‘Donau Carbon US LLC’ at the Standard Purification facilities in Dunnellon, Florida, the U.S. Through this move, Donau Carbon GmbH strengthened its position in the global activated carbon market.
  • In January 2014, Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., announced that it had entered into an agreement with AddSorb Holding AB to acquire all the shares of Jacobi Carbons AB, a manufacturer and distributor of coconut shell activated carbon
  • In August 2017, Sika AG acquired ABC Sealants, a leading Turkey-based manufacturer of adhesives. The acquisition strengthened the company’s position in Europe.

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Activated Carbon Market: Competition Landscape

  • Major manufacturers operating in the global activated carbon include
    • Henkel AG and Company KGaA
    • 3M
    • H. B. Fuller
    • Dow Inc.
    • Avery Dennison Corporation
    • BASF SE
    • Bostik SA
    • Sika AG