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Activated Carbon Market

Activated Carbon Market Analysis By Product (Powdered, Granular, Pelletized, Extruded Activated Carbon), By Phase (Liquid Phase, Gas Phase), By End Use (Activated Carbon in Water Treatment, Food, Automotive, Air Purification Applications), By Region - Global Insights 2021 - 2031

Analysis of Activated Carbon market covering 30 + countries including analysis of US, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Nordics, GCC countries, Japan, Korea and many more

Activated Carbon Market Outlook

The sales of activated carbon will reach a valuation of US$ 4 Billion by 2031, at a 10-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) exceeding 5%.

The global activated carbon market has witnessed strong growth owing to growing demand for water treatment applications, development in technology, increasing awareness about health, and rising capability of people to obtain medical services. 

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Activated Carbon Consumption Analysis from 2016 -2020 Vs Demand Outlook for 2021 - 2031

The activated carbon market size, was valued at US$ 2.8 Bn in 2020 and is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 5% across assessment period.

Crucial factor driving growth of the market is growing demand for activated carbon for water treatment applications. While activated charcoal is frequently being used in wastewater treatment, the market for activated carbon from the personal care and pharmaceutical sectors is also observing consistent growth.

Activated carbon plays a fundamental role in eliminating impurities, bacteria, chemicals, and dirt from surface of the skin, due to which various organizations across the personal care sector are swinging toward using activated charcoal in their products. A factor that is anticipated to aid market growth during the estimated period.

Furthermore, stringent environmental regulations regarding elimination of mercury from the power plant emissions, natural gas production units, and other anthropogenic sources are anticipated to fuel demand for activated carbon over coming years.

Activated Carbon Market

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What Key Restrains are Being Faced by Activated Carbon Manufacturers?

Scarcity of raw material, is a major factor limiting growth of the market globally. Various companies are worried about quality of raw material as it has an immediate impact on the performance of end product.

Activated carbon market price analysis depicts that, the high supply-demand gap has considerably raised the price of raw materials. Moreover, activated carbon used for food products can lead to reduced absorption of vitamins, lower absorption of drugs, and cause gastrointestinal side effects.

Thus, these factors can hinder growth of the global market during the forecast period.

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How is Reactivated Carbon an Opportunity for Activated Carbon Manufacturers to Maximize Profits?

The market size of activated carbon has increased tremendously due to application of activated carbon in water treatment, and industrial plants.
Another prime factor in the market is increasing pressure on activated carbon manufacturers & suppliers, to reduce their activated carbon production cost.

Hence, activated carbon manufacturers are highly focusing on production of reactivated carbon, of which price ranges from 65% to 85% of the cost of virgin activated carbon.

Reactivated carbon is an economical alternative to traditional activated carbon. Furthermore, there are no disposal problems or environmental liability concerns for activated carbon end users. Reactivated carbon possesses the competitive advantages over traditional activated carbon due its environmentally friendly nature.

The thermal reactivation process reduces the carbon dioxide footprint by five times as compared to the production of virgin material. Municipal water treatment plants in Europe are highly preferring reactivated carbon. Through reactivation the spent activated carbon can be recycled for reuse, eliminating the costs and long-term liability associated with disposal.

Reactivated carbon solves the problem related to pricing, is efficient, and is also non-hazardous environmentally. Which is creating lucrative opportunities to maximize the profits.

Which Region Has the Largest Share in the Global Activated Carbon Market?

The Asia Pacific region is the fastest-growing market for activated carbon in terms of value and volume. Increasing investments by companies, especially in automotive sector, the growing shift of production facilities to the emerging economies of the region and the strong industrial base, are the major factors contributing to growth of the market in this region.

Activated carbon market by Fact.MR

Country-wise Analysis

How are Stringent Pollution Control Regulations in the U.S. Nudging Demand for Activated Carbon?

The U.S., activated carbon market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of over 3% through the forecast period. Key factors driving the market growth include augmenting prominence for air pollution control.

However, the market faces few challenges, narrower markets, due to increased costs of some grades of activated carbon, and the threat of substitutes, namely silica gel and super sand.

Conformance to stringent environmental regulations in water treatment application is expected to drive the market growth during forecast period.

Emerging applications of activated carbon in the medical and pharmaceutical sector are likely to act as an opportunity in the future.

Why is China Emerging as a Lucrative Market for Activated Carbon Suppliers?

The China activated carbon market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 5% across the analysis period. China's demand for Activated Carbon has grown at a fast pace in the past decade.

During analysis period, both production and demand will continue to grow. The Chinese economy maintains a high-speed growth which has been stimulated by the consecutive increases of industrial output, imports & exports, consumer consumption and capital investment for over two decades.

Category-wise Analysis

What Makes Powdered Activated Carbon the Fastest Growing Type?

Powdered activated carbon has been the fastest-growing segment in the market since 2015. The application of powdered activated carbon in industrial applications in pharmaceutical industry for decolorization, is expected to drive its demand during forecast period.

Industrial growth in emerging clusters across the globe such ASEAN countries, North African Countries, and Central & Eastern European countries is expected to drive the demand for activated carbon.

Demand for powdered activated carbon in industrial applications is the major factor creating revenue opportunities for powdered activated carbon suppliers.

How is Growing Use of Activated Carbon in Industrial Applications Driving the Gas Phase Segment?

Gas phase applications of activated carbon ARE the fastest growing in the global market. Use of activated carbon for air purification applications, mercury removal, hydrogen sulfide removal, chlorine removal is driving the market.

Moreover, growing use of hybrid and electronic cars is also likely to drive the use of gas phase activated carbon for automotive application. This will further nudge the growth of this segment.

Will Demand for Activated Carbon from the Water Treatment Segment Remain High Across the Forecast Period?

Water treatment is the largest application of activated carbon. Powdered activated carbon (PAC) is used by water treatment plants for taste and odour control and to ensure the removal of organic chemicals. PACs are added early in the treatment process to enable a period of sole contact time before other treatment chemicals are added to the water stream. The powdered activated carbon (PAC) market is anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 7% across analysis period. Creating profitable opportunities for powdered activated carbon suppliers.

Granular activated carbon (GAC) offers particularly strong adsorbent properties. Its high surface area to volume ratio facilitates the ability to tackle a large number of contaminants and it can be used in static beds or part of a mobile filter system.

Treated water streams flow counter-currently to GACs. The GAC can be regularly removed and replaced with new or regenerated GAC at the top of the filter to continue to deliver strong adsorption of contaminants. The granular activated carbon (GAC) market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 7.5% across assessment period. Presenting revenue opportunities for granular activated carbon suppliers.

In modern water treatment systems, it is often preferred to use granular activated carbon for continuous treatment processes. Despite warranting a higher initial cost investment than PACs, GACs have a much lower operational cost as it can be thermally regenerated to recover the adsorptive properties.

Hence, demand for granular activated carbon systems in the water treatment industry is expected to remain high over coming years.

Attributable to these factors the demand for activated carbon for water purification is expected to remain high across the assessment period.

Competitive Landscape

Activated carbon manufacturers are highly focused on research and development activities by using technologies to develop new products for specific use.

Such research and development activities of activated carbon producers enable to develop better products for specific applications namely, for hydrogen sulfide removal, while competing with the existing products offered by competitors. Major companies provide activated carbon products in both granular as well as powdered form and for almost all applications.

Some of the key developments are:

  • In June 2016 Cabot Corporation (U.S) opened new technology centre in Shanghai (China) for research and development activities of activated carbon.
  • In November 2016, Calgon Carbon Corporation acquired the activated carbon and filter aid business of CECA which is the subsidiary of Arkema Group (France).
  • In September 2016, Cabot Corporation launched new activated carbon product under the brand DARCO H2S HF for odour control applications and hydrogen sulfide removal.
  • In March 2016, Osaka Gas Co., Ltd commenced the activated carbon reactivation centre in Spain to serve the municipal drinking water market in the Japan.  

Activated Carbon Market Report Scope



Forecast Period


Historical Data Available for


Key Regions Covered

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

Key Countries Covered

  • USA
  • Canada
  • Germany
  • France
  • the UK
  • Russia
  • Italy
  • China
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • India
  • Australia
  •  Middle East
  • Latin America

Key Market Segments Covered

  • Product
  • Phase
  • End Use
  • Region

Key Companies Profiled

  • Osaka Gas Co. Ltd.
  • Cabot Corporation
  • Kuraray Co.
  • Calgon Carbon
  • Haycarb
  • Kureha Corporation
  • Donau Carbon GMBH
  • Silcarbon Aktivkohle GMBH
  • Prominent systems Inc.
  • Oxbow activated carbon LLC


Available upon Request

Key Segments Covered in Activated Carbon Industry Research

  • By Product

    • Powdered Activated Carbon
    • Granular Activated Carbon
    • Pelletized Activated Carbon
    • Extruded Activated Carbon
  • By Phase

    • Liquid Phase
    • Gas Phase
  • By End Use

    • Water Treatment
    • Food Applications
    • Pharmaceutical & Medical Applications
    • Automotive Applications
    • Air Purification Applications
    • Gas Purification
    • Supercapacitor Applications
    • Metal Extraction
    • Industrial Processing

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The global activated carbon market was valued at US$ 2.8 Bn in 2020, and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 5% from 2021 to 2031.

The market has witnessed strong growth owing to growing demand for activated carbon for water treatment applications and increasing industrial applications.

Pelletized activated carbon applications include environmental air treatment, purification for gas phase applications, bio-gas filtration, and removal of toxic organic impurities from natural gas.

Granular extruded activated carbon is used for spill clean-up, groundwater remediation, drinking water filtration, and air purification.

Shinkwang Chem. Ind. Co., HayCarb, and Oxbow Coal SARL are top manufacturers of extruded activated carbon.

Extruded coal-based activated carbon is most widely used. It is very popular in gas phase purification, potable water purification, wastewater purification, and aquarium/pond water purification applications.

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