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Activated Carbon Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Powdered, Granular, and Others), By Application (Water Treatment, Air & Gas Purification, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Treatment, and Others), and Regional Forecast, 2023-2030

Last Updated :April 01, 2024 | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102175



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The global activated carbon market size was valued at USD 4.98 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow from USD 5.26 billion in 2023 to USD 7.73 billion by 2030, exhibiting a CAGR of 5.6% during the forecast period.

Activated carbon is used in air and gas cleaning and can be recycled and reused. It is also known as activated charcoal. Increasing environmental concerns and consumer awareness have created the need for strict emission guidelines. This has encouraged key companies to invest in advanced concepts and technologies to use the product in applications such as air treatment and cleaning. It is being increasingly used to treat different types of water, such as drinking water, service water, groundwater, and wastewater.

The product’s main role is to adsorb dissolved organic impurities and eliminate substances that affect the taste and odor of end-use applications such as water, air & gas, and food & beverage products. The use of Activated Carbon Injection (ACI) technology has offered cost-effective methods for the purification process. These methods are mainly used in power plants and cement kilns to reduce mercury emissions. Increasing pollution globally due to the mining and toxic gas emission are the significant factors driving market growth. Product is used in these end-use activities to capture the carbon emissions through air and water.


Government Regulations on Production Activities and Decreased Demand for Products from End-use Industries Hampered Market Growth

The COVID-19 outbreak decreased global productivity and affected several economies across the world. The stagnated manufacturing units reduced the production rate of various companies. This led to reduced availability of products globally for water treatment in commercial, industrial, and residential sectors.

Strict measures taken to curb the spread of the disease affected industrial activities across regions. The temporary shutdown of production facilities reduced the usage of activated charcoal in industrial wastewater treatment. With a rising focus on protection from the virus and overcoming the decline in product sales, governments from developed countries, such as the U.S., Germany, and the U.K., invested large sums in setting up more efficient water and wastewater treatment plants. Additionally, rising air pollution due to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from vehicles and industries led to the adoption of air purification procedures, contributing to the activated carbon market growth.


Increasing Focus of Key Players on Reactivated Carbon to Emerge as a Prominent Market Trend

The consumption of products has drastically increased over the past few years. This has boosted the need to recycle or re-activate the product due to its limited presence.

Activated carbon can be returned to its primary activation stage by thermal process, in which organic and inorganic contaminants are removed, enhancing its adsorption capacity. These used carbons are exposed to 800OC heat to re-activate them in the blast furnace. The adsorbed organic or inorganic compounds are volatilized and pyrolyzed to a carbonaceous carbon at this temperature and pressure.

This carbon reduces the polluting manufacturing waste and the amount of toxic gases, such as CO2 and carbon monoxide, released into the environment. Additionally, the re-activation of the carbon prevents the landfills from being filled by the granular activated carbon. Therefore, such benefits of re-activating the carbon have encouraged the manufacturers to recycle their products.

Moreover, re-activating carbon reduces the cost of replacing the product and offers a similar rate of adsorption compared to virgin activated carbon. These re-activated carbons are easy to handle and dispose of, which reduces the production costs. Therefore, the preference for re-activation of carbons has gradually increased over time, leading to market growth.

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Increased Product Demand from Air Purification Systems to Boost Market Growth

The rising air pollution across the globe has surged the demand for air purification systems in factories and generators. Over the past few years, rapid industrialization and the increasing number of coal-based electricity-generating power plants have increased air pollution. As a result, the governments of different countries have issued new policies to control pollution.

Therefore, product consumption has increased in end products, such as carbon filters. These filters extract the micro impurities from the air when they pass through it as their bed structure is made of powdered or granular carbon. Additionally, such carbon filters offer remarkable filtration against Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), chemicals, and hazardous gases, such as SOX and NOX.

The number of dyspnea (breathing illness) patients has increased drastically in the past few years due to the presence of micro-pollutants in the air. This has created a massive demand for activated carbon from air filtration systems in residential areas. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 90% of the global population breathes polluted air, and more than 4.1 million people die from air pollution every year.

As a result, manufacturing units and coal-based power plants have started adopting air filtration systems to limit their mercury emissions. The U.S. has imposed strict regulations on the emission of mercury and other hazardous elements to clean the air.

Therefore, these factors will increase the demand for products from end-use industries, such as air and gas purification.


Hike in Prices Due to Raw Material Shortage to Impede Market Growth

The scarcity of raw materials, including coconut shell charcoal used for production, is a factor that will adversely affect market growth. As a result, the prices of raw materials have risen. Coal-based product prices have increased due to higher energy needs. Coal is extensively used in applications such as cement production, iron & steel plants, and electricity generation in China. This caused a shortage of coal grades used in the manufacturing of activated charcoal. However, the decline in the demand for coconut has affected the operational output of producers, which has encouraged them to increase their production capacities by 50-60%. This move has resulted in product price hikes.


By Type Analysis

Granular Carbon to Gain Momentum in Demand Owing to Increasing Use in Several End-Use Industries

On the basis of type, the market is segmented into powdered, granular, and others.

The Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) segment is the fastest-growing segment owing to its high demand from several end-use industries, such as water treatment and air & gas purification. GAC has a comparatively larger particle size than the powdered form, making it suitable for removing contaminants from liquids, air, and gases. GAC is used in the food & beverage industry to remove impurities, foul odor, and color from sweeteners, syrups, beverages, amino acids, and organic acids. It is also used in wastewater treatment to remove oil, industrial pollutants, heavy metals, and pesticides. Additionally, the growing demand for a granular form of carbon can be attributed to its easy regeneration and reusability, which will further boost the segment’s growth.

As defined by ASTM International, Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) has a particle size smaller than 0.177mm. Thus, it has a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio. PAC removes a wide range of organic contaminants that impart color, odor, and taste to 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 primary application of PAC is water treatment. Hence, the increasing utilization of the PAC in the water treatment application is surging the segment’s growth in the market.

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By Application Analysis

Water Treatment Segment Leads Owing to Increasing Industrial Activities and Wide Use of Product

Based on application, the market is categorized into water treatment, air & gas purification, food & beverage, pharmaceutical & healthcare treatment, and others.

The water treatment segment held the largest activated carbon market share in 2022 and is expected to remain the leading segment throughout the forecast period. The product is commonly used in water treatment to adsorb organic compounds, odor & taste compounds, toxic substances, and oils. It has high porosity and offers a larger surface area for adsorption. The rising need to treat water due to the depletion of natural resources and the increasing presence of pollutants will bolster the segment’s growth. Besides, strict norms implemented to treat industrial wastewater are expected to support the segment’s growth.

In the food & beverage industry, the product removes contaminants, such as odor and color-imparting substances, heavy metals, toxic components, amino acids, and refined edible oil. Consumers' increasing attention toward food safety and quality is expected to support the segment’s growth. Furthermore, the product has applications in different industries to recover various solvents, purify CO2 waste gases, and control mercury vapor emissions, mainly from fossil fuel-based power plants. Food & beverage industry has faced a huge demand for ready-to-eat products owing to the consumer’s busy lifestyle that requires a lot of ready-to-eat food & beverage products. Such activities have surged the demand for food & beverage related raw materials such as purifying agents, including carbon products. Thus, the increasing industry is surging the product demand.

After the pandemic, consumers became more aware of their health and hygiene. This has created a massive opportunity for the pharmaceutical industry. The product in pharmaceutical & healthcare treatments involves the treatment of overdoses, poisoning, indigestion, and flatulence. The segment will showcase significant demand for the product owing to its adsorption characteristics. Thus, massive demand for pharmaceutical products surged.

Charcoal is used in other applications as well, such as rare metal recovery, energy storage, and specialty chemicals manufacturing. The rising energy demand has increased the manufacturing of energy storage devices, thereby boosting the product consumption in batteries.


Geographically, the market is studied across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa.

Asia Pacific Activated Carbon Market Size, 2022 (USD Billion)

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Asia Pacific dominated the global market and was valued at USD 2.09 billion in 2022. The region is expected to remain dominant throughout the forecast period due to the presence of two major product consuming countries, namely China and India. These countries use activated charcoal for water treatment applications. The exponential rise in population in Asia Pacific has led to an increased need for pure and safe potable water, thereby fueling the product demand. Additionally, ease of availability of raw materials and their low costs are expected to support the regional market's growth.

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

In Europe, stringent standards & guidelines, and government initiatives to safeguard the environment have surged the demand for products in applications, including water treatment, mercury emission absorption, and air purification. In addition, strict regulations have influenced automotive manufacturers to use activated charcoal to minimize emissions from their vehicles. These factors are expected to create several growth opportunities for the market in Europe.

The market in Latin America is expected to observe significant growth in the coming years. Mexico is a major country in this region. Increasing product consumption in the water purification and pharmaceutical industries for deodorization and decolonization is projected to drive market progress.

In the Middle East & Africa, low availability of potable water and increasing oil exploration & and industrial activities are the key factors supporting the product’s use in purification applications and driving the regional market growth.


Key Market Players to Strengthen their Position by Providing Sustainability Solutions to Various Industries

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

Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd. develops and uses technologies to supply various carbon products to meet consumer requirements. These include high-performance products for special applications in industries such as air environment, water purification, and food & beverage.


  • Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd. (Japan)

  • Donau Carbon GmbH (Germany)

  • Cabot Corporation (U.S.)



  • Kuraray Co., Ltd. (Japan)


  • Activated Carbon Technologies (Australia)

  • Silcarbon Aktivkohle GmbH (Germany)

  • Ingevity (U.S.)

  • Iluka Resources (Australia)

  • James Cumming & Sons (Australia)

  • Universal Carbons (India)

  • Carbon Activated Corporation (U.S.)

  • Tronox (U.S.)

  • Active Char Products (India)

  • Genuine Shell Carb (India)


  • January 2023 – Cabot Corporation announced that it would invest USD 200 million in the U.S. to add the conductive carbons capacity at its existing facility in Pampa, Texas. The purpose of the investment is product expansion in the country for the next five years.

  • March 2023 – Cabot Corporation launched the EVOLVE Sustainable Solutions. It is a novel technology platform that is involved in advancing sustainable reinforcing carbons. The launch of the new technology aims to recover the carbon products from the end-of-life tiers to renew the waste and reduce carbon emissions.

  • October 2022 – Kuraray Co., Ltd. announced that it had completed the expanding and running test operations of re-activated carbon manufacturing facilities at its Feluy factory in Germany.

  • August 2022 – Ingevity announced an investment of USD 60 million in lithium-ion anode materials to secure a future activated carbon supply relationship with Nexeon. This investment aims to maximize the revenue from the product segment.


An Infographic Representation of Activated Carbon Market

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The report provides a detailed analysis of the market and focuses on crucial aspects, such as leading companies, applications, and types. Also, the report offers insights into the latest market trends and highlights vital industry developments. In addition to the factors mentioned above, the report encompasses various factors that have contributed to the growth of the market in recent years.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Estimated Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period


Growth Rate

CAGR of 5.6% from 2023-2030


Value (USD Billion), Volume (Kiloton)


By Type

  • Powdered

  • Granular

  • Others

By Application

  • Water Treatment

  • Air & Gas Purification

  • Food & Beverage

  • Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Treatment

  • Others

By Geography

  • North America (By Type, Application, Country)

    • U.S. (By Type)

    • Canada (By Type)

  • Europe (By Type, Application, Country)

    • Germany (By Type)

    • France (By Type)

    • U.K. (By Type)

    • Italy (By Type)

    • Spain (By Type)

    • Russia (By Type)

    • Rest of Europe (By Type)

  • Asia Pacific (By Type, Application, Country)

    • China (By Type)

    • Japan (By Type)

    • India (By Type)

    • South Korea (By Type)

    • Rest of Asia Pacific (By Type)

  • Latin America (By Type, Application, Country)

    • Brazil (By Type)

    • Mexico (By Type)

    • Argentina (By Type)

    • Rest of Latin America (By Type)

  • Middle East & Africa (By Type, Application, Country)

    • Saudi Arabia (By Type)

    • UAE (By Type)

    • Kuwait (By Type)

    • Oman (By Type)

    • Rest of the Middle East & Africa (By Type)

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was valued at USD 4.98 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach USD 7.73 billion by 2030.

In 2022, the market size in Asia Pacific stood at USD 2.09 billion.

Recording a CAGR of 5.6%, the market will exhibit steady growth during the forecast period of 2023-2030.

Water treatment is expected to be the leading segment under the application segment during the forecast period.

Increasing demand for water treatment applications will drive market growth.

Cabot Corporation, Kuraray Co., Ltd., Donau Carbon GmbH, and KUREHA CORPORATION are a few of the leading players in the global market.

Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2022.

Rising demand for packaged beverages and an increasing need for clean water are expected to drive the adoption of the product.

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