GVR Report cover Activated Carbon Market Size, Share & Trends Report

Activated Carbon Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Powdered, Granular), By Application (Liquid, Gas), By End Use (Water Treatment, Air Purification), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2019 - 2025

  • Published Date: May, 2019
  • Base Year for Estimate: 2018
  • Report ID: 978-1-68038-073-6
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)
  • Historical Data: 2014 - 2017
  • Number of Pages: 158

Industry Insights

The global activated carbon market size was estimated at USD 4.72 billion in 2018. It is expected to expand at a CAGR of 17.5% during the forecast period. Increasing demand for water treatment and sewage treatment applications is expected to be a key growth driver.

Activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal is characterized by the presence of a large number of tiny pores on its surface. Higher the number of pores, larger will be the surface area, which increases the adsorption capacity of the element. Among all end uses, it is widely used in potable water purification and sewage treatment plants. Recent technological advancements in manufacturing are expected to further fuel the growth.

U.S. activated carbon market

Various forms of the product are manufactured using raw material such as wood, peat, coconut shell charcoal, wood chips, petroleum pitch, phenolic resin, and viscose rayon. The use of a high quantity of raw material during the manufacturing process produces high carbon yield. Manufacturers are worried about the quality of raw material as it has a direct impact on the performance of end product. The high supply-demand gap has considerably increased the price of raw material. 

Activated carbon is extensively used in water and sewage treatment owing to its ability to remove particulate and dissolved impurities. It also eliminates certain organic impurities and removes chlorine from water. It is used in greenhouses and manufacturing industries for air purification and to remove toxic gases, odors, and harmful dust particles. Food and beverage processing, pharmaceutical & medical, and automotive industries are other application areas for the product.

The rising level of air and water pollution have governments across the globe to impose strict air and water pollution control and waste treatment norms. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and government regulatory agencies have recommended activated carbon as the best available material for removing chemical impurities such as mercury.

Product Insights

On the basis of product type, the activated carbon market is categorized into powdered, granular, and others. The other segment is further divided into pelletized, extruded, acid washed, bead activated, and impregnated among others. The powdered form is the most common and widely used variety that finds application in automotive, pharmaceutical and medical, and food and beverage processing, owing to its unique pore structure and high adsorption capacity. In 2018, Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) accounted for more than 60% by volume of total product manufactured in the world. Rising demand and stringent environmental regulations are expected to play a critical role in driving the growth.

Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) is generally manufactured from carbon-rich organic raw materials, such as coal and coconut shell charcoal. GAC has regenerating properties that make it very popular. However, the iodine number of regenerated activated carbon reduces after regeneration. GAC is heavily used in air treatment and municipal water treatment plants, especially in mercury and chlorine removal process.

Growing applications in industries such as food and beverage processing and pharmaceutical and medical are projected to aid the market growth in the near future. Applications in the automotive industry are expected to witness a brisk growth over the forecast period and are presumed to assist the growth over the next six years. Increasing population and disposable income, particularly in the developing regions such as Asia Pacific and Latin America are expected to drive the market over the forecast period.

Application Insights

Gas-phase application has crossed liquid phase application in terms of market share with increasing consumption into the air conditioner, gas mask, sewage, and human waste treatment, desulphurization, and purification of factory effluent gases. Asia Pacific led this market over the recent years and is projected to continue this dominance over the forecast period.

The rising demand for the product in air purification applications from domestic as well as commercial users is expected to offer ample growth opportunities in the forthcoming years. Gas-phase application is anticipated to reach USD 5.82 billion in terms of revenue and lead the market during the forecast period.

End Use Insights

Water treatment technology is gaining prominence all over the world. Companies are trying to adopt environment-friendly and efficient water disposal techniques, which has increased demand for activated carbon over the past few years. In the year 2018, consumption of the product in water treatment application has reached more than 40% of the total volume manufactured in the world.

Global activated carbon market

In the food and beverage sector, activated carbon is consumed in processes such as removal of contaminants or impurities such as color and odor from sweeteners, food liquids, syrups, beverages, glycerin, and amino and organic acids. Growing demand for processed foods and beverages is a major factor expected to drive the market in the near future. The demand for activated carbon in pharmaceutical and medical was 104.1 kilo tons in 2018. The product is used for purification of raw material compounds, kidney machine, nursing supplies, and respirators. Increasing population and health concerns are expected to propel the demand over the forecasted period.

Regional Insights

All the regions except Asia Pacific are expected to witness a decline in market share owing to the brisk growth of Asia Pacific region over the forecast period. Economies such as China, India, and Japan are expected to lead the region in the next six years. Coconut shells are one of the proven and most widely used raw materials for manufacturing activated charcoal. Several Asian countries including the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, and Sri Lanka have ideal tropical weather suitable for steady coconut cultivation, thus, making Asia Pacific one of the major sources of raw material globally.

North America is the second largest market after Asia Pacific. Developed regions such as North America and Europe are anticipated to witness moderate growth owing to the saturation of end use industries and a weak economic scenario, particularly in Europe. Growing environmental concerns, stringent regulations, and standards as well as government initiatives to safeguard the environment are expected to aid the market over the forecast period. As a result, water treatment, air purification, and mercury absorption are a few applications that are expected to witness brisk growth.

Activated Carbon Market Share Insights

Rising demand has encouraged many companies to enter into the business and many are still finding ways. This scenario is expected to continue for the upcoming six to eight years, as it will help supply the rising product demand in a variety of applications. With advancements in reactivation more and, more companies are trying to tap the opportunities and are making ways to enter the reactivation business, by providing services like on-site services.

The market is highly product-driven. Hence, the companies are heavily investing in R&D activities to develop new products and to tap lucrative opportunities in niche segments. Key players are Cabot Corporation, Jacobi Carbons AB, Calgon Carbon Corp., Osaka Gas Chemical Co. Ltd., and Evoqua Water Technologies LLC., among others.

Report Scope



Base year for estimation


Actual estimates/Historical data

2014 - 2017

Forecast period

2019 - 2025

Market representation

Volume in Tons, Revenue in USD Thousand & CAGR from 2019 to 2025

Regional scope

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

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company share, competitive landscape, growth factors and trends

Country Scope

U.S., Canada, Mexico, Germany, U.K., France, Italy, Spain, China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Saudi Arabia

15% free customization scope (equivalent to 5 analyst working days)

If you need specific information, which is not currently within the scope of the report, we will provide it to you as a part of customization

Segments Covered in the Report

This report forecasts revenue growth at global, regional, and country levels and provides an analysis of the latest industry trends in each of the sub-segments from 2014 to 2025. For the purpose of this study, Grand View Research has segmented the global activated carbon market report on the basis of product, application, end use, and region:

  • Product Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Powdered

    • Granular

    • Others

  • Application Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Liquid Phase

    • Gas Phase

  • End Use Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • Water Treatment

    • Food & Beverage Processing

    • Pharmaceutical & Medical

    • Automotive

    • Air Purification

    • Others

  • Regional Outlook (Volume, Kilotons; Revenue, USD Million, 2014 - 2025)

    • North America

      • U.S.

      • Canada

      • Mexico

    • Europe

      • Germany

      • U.K.

      • France

      • Italy

      • Spain

    • Asia Pacific

      • China

      • India

      • Japan

      • Australia

      • South Korea

    • Central & South America

      • Brazil

      • Argentina

    • Middle East & Africa

      • South Africa

      • Saudi Arabia

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