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Activated Carbon Market Size, Share & Industry Analysis, By Form (Powdered, Granular, and Others), By Application (Water Treatment, Air & Gas Purification, Food & Beverage, Others), and Regional Forecast, 2019-2026

Region : Global | Published Date: Feb, 2020 | Report ID: FBI102175



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Activated carbon is a material that contains low volume pores and has a large internal surface area. The large surface area ensures a higher adsorption capacity. Activated carbon is also known as activated charcoal and is produced from sources with high carbon content such as wood, coconut shell, bamboo, willow peat, petroleum pitch, and coal. The carbon thus obtained is activated by physical methods such as oxidization or by chemical means. Activated carbon is ground, screened, and/or impregnated to produce different forms of activated carbon for several applications.

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Activated carbon is widely used for adsorbing toxic substances and elements from industrial wastewater, flue gases, oils, and other liquid and gaseous products owing to its highly porous structure. Strict guidelines and regulations imposed by the government regarding the emissions from industries are expected to lead the activated carbon market. Activated carbon is majorly used for treating water required for drinking purposes and industrial uses to remove contaminants and pollutants.

Activated carbon injection (ACI) technology is a cost-effective method for reducing mercury emissions from the coal-fired boiler in cement kilns and power plants. The technology is proven to be efficient in mercury reduction and for a variety of other applications.


“Increasing Use of Activated Carbon in Water Treatment Application to Drive the Market”

The demand for activated carbon is increasing with the rising need for clean and safe potable water. The growth of the market can be attributed to the properties of activated carbon that includes high surface area available for adsorption, that easily removes impurities such as oils, microbes, odor & taste imparting substances, and chemicals. Exponentially rising population leading to high consumer demand for freshwater has led to the increased consumption of activated carbon for water purification.

Increasing level of water pollution has forced government authorities to establish regulations on treating industrial wastewater. This has directed many industries such as paper & pulp, chemicals, paints & dyes, and others to incorporate water treatment units in their facilities, thereby increasing demand for activated charcoal for the removal of pollutants and driving the activated charcoal market. Moreover, activated carbon is used for purifying water required for several manufacturing processes, which will boost the activated charcoal market growth. 


By Form Analysis

“Powdered Activated Carbon to Exhibit Fastest-Growth Throughout the Forecast Period”

The market is segmented into powdered, granulated, and others on the basis of form. As per the activated carbon market analysis, granulated activated carbon (GAC) is the major form of activated carbon owing to its demand from various end-use industries. GAC has comparatively larger particle size than powdered activated carbon, thereby making it suitable for the removal of contaminants from liquids, air, and gases. GAC is used in food & beverage industry to remove impurities such as odor and color from sweeteners, syrups, beverages, amino acids, and organic acids. It is also used in wastewater treatment for the removal of oil, industrial pollutants, heavy metals, and pesticides. Additionally, the growing demand for granulated form of activated carbon can be owed to its easy regeneration and reusability, which augurs well for the activated charcoal market demand.

Powdered activated carbon (PAC) has particle size smaller than 0.177mm as defined by ASTM; thus, they have larger surface area to volume ratio. PAC is used in the removal of wide range of organic contaminants that impart color, odor, and taste from wastewater, potable water, and water required in industrial processes. It is also used in processes with high flow rates of liquids to minimize capital expenditure. Hence, the major application of PAC is in water treatment.

Other forms of activated carbon include polymer-coated carbon, extruded activated carbon (EAC), and impregnated carbon. Polymer-coated carbon is biocompatible and is used in the removal of toxic substances from a patient’s blood. Extruded activated carbon is obtained by combining powdered activated carbon with a binder, which is then extruded into a cylindrical shape. It is primarily used in filters to remove chlorine, odor, and taste. Impregnated carbon contains impregnates such as silver, iodine, aluminum, iron, and others, and are specifically designed to control pollutants in the air. Due to the antimicrobial properties of the silver-impregnated activated carbon, it is used in the purification of drinking water.

By Application Analysis

“Water Treatment Segment Accounts for the Major Share of the Market”

The report includes several activated carbon market trends by focusing on applications such as water treatment, air & gas purification, food & beverage, and others. The water treatment segment holds the largest market share in 2018 and is expected to remain largest throughout the forecast period. Activated carbon is commonly used in water treatment to adsorb organic compounds, odor and taste compounds, toxic substances, and oils. It is an effective substance due to its high porosity, thereby offering a larger surface area for adsorption. The rising need to treat water throughout the world due to the depleting natural sources and increasing amount of pollutants is responsible for the growth of the activated carbon market. Besides, strict norms to treat industrial wastewater will support the activated charcoal segment growth.  

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Air & gas purification holds the second-largest share of the activated charcoal market in application segment. Urban and industrial growth in several countries across the globe has increased the need for purified air. Activated carbon is used in many industries for the recovery of solvents and CO2 purification. Regulations imposed by the government on industrial emissions have led to the increased demand for activated carbon for purifying industrial waste gases and to control mercury vapor emissions, especially from fossil fuel-based power plants. Hence, the growth of the activated carbon market.

In food & beverage industry, activated carbon is used to remove contaminants such as odor and color imparting substances, heavy metals, toxic components, amino acids, and refining of edible oil. Increasing demand for processed foods will increase the demand for activated carbon for food & beverage application. Increasing attention of consumers towards food safety and quality is expected to support the activated carbon market growth.

Activated carbon is used in other applications such as rare metal recovery, energy storage, and manufacturing of specialty chemicals. The current rising demand for energy has led to growth in the manufacture of energy storage devices, thereby increasing the demand for activated carbon for applications in batteries. Activated carbon is used in the manufacture of several specialty chemicals, including fertilizers, organic chemicals, and inorganic polymers and chemicals. Rising demand for various specialty chemicals globally will drive the activated charcoal market.


Asia-Pacific accounted for the largest share of activated carbon market in 2018 and is expected to remain largest throughout the forecast period due to China and India being two of the major activated carbon consuming countries, mainly for water treatment applications. The exponential rise in population in Asia-Pacific has increased the need for pure and safe potable water, thereby increasing the activated charcoal market demand. Additionally, easy availability of raw materials and their low rates will support the growth of activated carbon market.

North America Activated Carbon Market Size, 2018

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In North America, the U.S. led the activated carbon market due to increased demand for activated carbon for water and air purification applications. Regulations imposed by the government on disposal of industrial wastewater and gas emissions have led to growth in the use of activated carbon for removing contaminants such as CO2, mercury vapors, and other toxic gases.

In Europe, stringent standards and guidelines and initiatives by the government to safeguard environment have resulted in the growth of activated carbon demand for applications, including water treatment, mercury absorption, and air purification. This is expected to provide growth opportunities for activated charcoal market in Europe.

Latin America is expected to observe a significant growth in the market. Mexico is the major country for activated carbon in this region. Increasing consumption of activated carbon in the water purification and pharmaceutical industries for deodorization and decolorization is projected to drive the activated charcoal market. In the Middle East & Africa, low availability of water, increasing oil exploration, and industrial activities are the key factors influencing the demand for activated carbon for purification applications, driving the growth of this market.  


“Key Market Players to Strengthen their Position by Providing Activated Carbon Solutions to the Packaging Industry”

Major producers of activated carbon such as Kuraray Co., Ltd. and Cabot Corporation have a widespread presence around the globe. They offer various forms of activated carbon products. Kuraray Co., Ltd. and Cabot Corporation used acquisition and new product development as their key strategies, respectively, to increase their global presence and serve the customer demands in the activated charcoal market. These companies serve various end-use industries such as water treatment, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, and food & beverage.

List Of Key Companies Covered:


A growing trend observed in the penetration of the activated carbon market across the industries. 

The activated carbon market report provides qualitative and quantitative insights on the activated carbon market and detailed analysis of the size and growth rate for all possible segments in the market. The activated carbon market is segmented by form, application, and geography. Based on form, the market is classified into powdered, granular, and others. By application, the market is divided into water treatment, air & gas purification, food & beverage, and others. Geographically, the activated charcoal market has been analyzed across five major regions, which are North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. These regions are further categorized into countries.

Along with this, the report provides an elaborative analysis of the activated carbon market dynamics and competitive landscape. Various key insights presented in the report are the price trend analysis, recent industry developments in the activated carbon market, the regulatory scenario in crucial countries, macro, and microeconomic factors, SWOT analysis, and key industry trends, competitive landscape, and company profiles.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Billion) and Volume (Kiloton)


By Form

  • Powdered

  • Granular

  • Others

By Application

  • Water Treatment

  • Air & Gas Purification

  • Food & Beverage

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico)

  • Europe (Germany, France, UK, Italy, Spain, Russia, and Rest of Europe)

  • Asia-Pacific (China, Japan, India, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and Rest of Asia-Pacific)

  • South America (Brazil, Argentina, and Rest of Latin America)

  • Middle East & Africa (Egypt, Iran, Turkey, South Africa, and Rest of Middle East & Africa)

Key Industry Developments

  • In September 2018, Kuraray Co., Ltd. completed acquisition of Calgon Carbon Corporation. This company will operate as a separate subsidiary and be a part of the Functional Materials Company of Kuraray. Both the companies have complementary products and services, and they will continue to deliver quality activated carbon and filtration media products, equipment, and services. With this acquisition Kuraray will increase its global presence in activated carbon and filtration media.

  • In September 2016, Cabot Norit Activated Carbon launched new high performance activated carbon product named DARCO H2S HF for odor control applications. This product provides superior hydrogen sulfide, removes odor, and improves the operational efficiency in sewage treatment by reducing system pressure drop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the value of this market was at USD 2.73 billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 4.09 billion by 2026.

Growing at a CAGR of 5.2%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2019-2026).

Water treatment segment is expected to lead this market during the forecast period.

Increasing use of activated carbon in water treatment applications will drive the market.

Asia Pacific is expected to hold the highest share in the activated carbon market.

Rising demand for packaged beverages is the top trend in this market.

Activated Carbon Market  Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
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