Activated Carbon Market: Industry Growth Factors and Technological Advancements

activated carbon market

Activated carbon is used as a material that contains tiny pores and has a lot of internal surface area. The fact that it contains pores means that it can take in various substances from liquids or gases. It is possible to remove dangerous materials and gases found in flue gas, natural as well as industrial wastewater streams etc., by using activated carbon which has adsorption properties. The product is primarily used in gas purification, air filtration systems, gold purification, metal extraction, and decaffeination. Moreover, it is frequently difficult to extract powdered activated carbon from water treatment reservoirs, and it is not reactivable once used. Thus, the limitations of activated carbon as a filter prevent the market from growing.

Moreover, the demand is also increasing due to the need for sewage and water treatment applications and is expected to grow. It has the highest number of small holes on a surface among all types of activated carbons. The surface area of these substances grows with the rising number of holes thus boosting their adsorption properties. This kind of charcoal is normally necessary for purifying drinking water or cleaning waste products at sewage treatment plants. It is predicted that industrial growth will be spurred on by advancements in manufacturing technology.

Global Production Trends

Adsorption capacities are high according to a wide range of treatment goals including the removal of various particles. To satisfy the rising demand for PAC, businesses like Cabot Corporation increased the amount of activated carbon they could produce in Canada by twofold. The company announced that it would increase its PAC production capacity by 35 million pounds per year to meet the high demand for the product from the coal-fired utility sector for the removal of mercury.

Further, the market for granular activated carbon is expanding rapidly as well. Its regeneration is the reason for this. Municipal water treatment facilities and air treatment facilities use a lot of GAC. In GAC production, coconut shell charcoal and coal are the two primary raw materials utilized. One crucial element that will possibly prop the market up is the increasing need for water treatment methodologies due to set standards and regulations by industries demanding their application. To protect the environment, governments and agencies have released these standards. These efforts are anticipated to help the market over the anticipated period.

The gas phase primarily consists of air filtration. The product’s primary formulators for gas phase applications include Kuraray Corporation and others. Activated carbon is widely used in air purification products such as air conditioners and gas masks. The product is also used for solvent recovery, gas separation, and other uses in gas phase applications.

End Use Case

One method to reduce carbon dioxide emissions arising out of energy sources’ production and use to prevent global warming as well as being able to have an environmentally friendly energy system from renewable resources is through decarbonization. Decarbonization is the process of shifting from coal, oil, and gas to alternative energy sources such as solar power and wind power, among others. This means that the electricity produced from these sources contains no Greenhouse gases.

Moreover, fossil fuels are dug, drilled, and burnt to generate power by the oil and gas sector thus causing greenhouse gases to accumulate rapidly in the environment. In the language of the oil and gas industry, the term decarbonization refers to any aspect of decreasing the carbon footprint and moving into a low-carbon, sustainable energy future. Among the top goals of decarbonization is to cut down on emissions linked with natural gas and petroleum products by extraction, processing and movement.

Market Dynamics and Drivers

Activated carbon is widely used to remove synthetic organic contaminants, natural organic chemicals, and taste and odour components from drinking water. Activated carbon works well as an adsorbent because of its high rate of porosity and broad surface area, which permit for adsorption of contaminants. Further, water-softening processes may also involve activated carbon. Moreover, residential point-of-use filters are essentially the only household water treatment systems that could wholly eliminate heavy metals such as lead from the supply..

Moreover, significant manufacturing sectors produce a lot of wastewater. This water contains many harmful substances such as organic materials, non-biodegradable chemicals, and some metals and oxides too. Therefore, it is necessary to purify the contaminated discharge from dehydration while dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, gastrointestinal disorders, or even death result from using untreated contaminated water. In addition, as the population and pollution levels rise, the demand for clean, safe water increases. For instance, as per UNESCO, approximately 70% of freshwater withdrawals globally are attributed to agriculture, with industry coming in second at less than 20% and domestic or municipal uses at around 12%.

Figure 1: Percentage of Freshwater Withdrawal for Different Sectors Globally

percentage of freshwater

Source: UNESCO

Activated carbon is applied to decrease strong alcohol levels in alcoholic beverages. During procedures involving abdominal radiography, it is used as an anti-flatulent. In addition, it serves as a filtering medium for blood dialysis patients with kidney disorders and is added to wound dressings to manage odour. The number of patients with various diseases is likely to rise due to growing health concerns linked to sedentary lifestyles and poor eating habits. This is expected to increase demand for implantable surgeries and further propel the global market’s growth. Due to their more inelastic requirements, drugs will be the main driver of this growth in cases of rare diseases, diabetes, obesity, HIV, COPD, cancer, and immune stimulants.

Key Developments

  • In March 2023, Evoqua Water Technologies LLC acquired Bob Johnson & Associates to expand its presence in North America, The company that offers customary treatment services for industrial water, from Kemco Systems, USA.
  • In October 2022, Kuraray started operating at full capacity at its facility in Feluy, Belgium. The company was able to come up with this decision because they had made successful tests on reactivated carbon production plants in other parts of the world hence providing Calgon Carbon company with the means of consistently obtaining activated carbon anywhere they needed it..

In conclusion, the market for activated carbon is characterized by intense competition, with a small number of major players controlling a large portion of the market. This suggests that the market, which is dominated by small and medium-sized businesses, could be more cohesive. Diverse market needs are met by these companies through providing various kinds of activated carbon products used for different purposes. Despite competition from other sectors, the market is expected to develop with time as more industries need this type of product, such as those involved in food processing or manufacturing beverages; as well as air purification purposes among others which include water treatment issues.


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