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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, Others), and Regional Forecast, 2020-2027

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI102175



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The global activated carbon market size was USD 2,856.7 million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 4,064.7 million by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.8% during the forecast period.

Activated carbon, also known as activated charcoal, is used in a wide range of industrial applications that includes gas and air cleaning involving reusable recovery. Growing environmental concerns and awareness have led to strict emissions guidelines. This, in turn, has encouraged several manufacturers to invest in technology development and advanced concepts for the use of activated charcoal in applications such as cleaning and air treatment. Activated charcoal is increasingly used for water treatment that includes drinking water, service water, groundwater, and wastewater.

The primary role for activated charcoal is adsorption of dissolved organic impurities and the elimination of substances that affects the odor and taste. Adoption of activated carbon injection (ACI) technology has provided cost-effective methods for the purification process. These methods are majorly used in cement kilns and power plants for reducing mercury emissions. Growing pollution on account of emission caused during product manufacturing has been a major factor driving the market.

The Effect of COVID-19 Pandemic to Decline the Activated Carbon Production

The recent coronavirus outbreak has resulted in a decrease in global productivity, and affected several economies across the world.   The stagnant nature of manufacturing units has led to a decrease in the production rate for activated charcoal. This has led to a reduced availability for activated charcoal globally. It is majorly used for water treatment in industrial, commercial, and residential sectors.

Strict measures taken to curb the spread of the disease have affected the industrial activities across regions due to temporary shutdown of production facilities, which has reduced the usage of activated charcoal in industrial waste water treatment. To overcome the decline in the product sales and rising awareness towards protection from the virus, governments from major developed countries such as the U.S., Germany, the UK, and others are investing huge sums for setting up of more efficient water and wastewater treatment plants. Additionally, rising air pollution due to various factors such as vehicles and CO2 emissions has led to the adoption of air purification procedures that are slowly contributing to the growth of the activated charcoal market.


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Growing Product Demand for Air & Gas Purification to Strengthen Market Growth

Activated charcoal is an excellent choice for air & gas purification due to its high adsorption potential for a wide variety of molecules ranging from odorous compounds to carcinogenic impurities. It eliminates harmful impurities from the air streams in applications such as personal safety and home air purification, delivering clean, non-hazardous air. The product is also used in biogas treatment and hydrogen separation, wherein it minimizes the manufacturing costs by shielding downstream equipment such as engines, catalysts, and fuel cells from corrosive silicon dioxide, while also increasing output yields.

Most processing plants are expected to reduce the emissions of hazardous or odorous compounds from the air. Activated charcoal air-treatment systems are among the most effective technologies available for both organic and inorganic compound purification. Exposure to volatile organic compounds from airports to workplaces, to home environments, is a major health issue.


Increasing Use of Activated Charcoal/Carbon in Water Treatment Application to Aid Growth

The product demand is increasing with the rising need for clean and safe potable water. The growth of the market can be attributed to the properties of the product including high surface area available for adsorption, that easily removes impurities such as oils, microbes, odor & taste imparting substances, and chemicals. For example, Carbon Activated Corp. provides industrial solutions, municipal groundwater filter systems in the U.S., and VOC/siloxane removal systems in biogas engines in all over Europe. The exponentially rising population is also leading to high consumer demand for freshwater, which has led to the increased consumption for water purification.

Increasing levels of water pollution have compelled government authorities to implement stringent 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 carbon for the removal of pollutants.


Raw Material Shortage Causing Price Hike of Activated Charcoal/Carbon to Impede Growth

The scarcity of various raw materials such as coconut shell charcoal used for production is a risk factor in market growth. As a result, the prices of the raw materials have risen mainly from coconut shell charcoal. Coal-based activated charcoal prices have risen due to higher energy needs, especially in China, coal is widely used in key application areas such as electricity, cement, and iron & steel plants are continuously growing. This has resulted in a shortage of sufficient coal grades which are used to manufacture the product. However, the decline in coconut demand has affected the operational output of activated charcoal producers, which has encouraged manufacturers to increase production capacities by 50% to 60%, resulting in product price hikes.


By Type Analysis

Powdered Activated Carbon to Exhibit Fastest-growth Throughout the Forecast Period

The global market, on the basis of type has been segmented into powdered, granulated, and others. Amongst these, granulated activated carbon (GAC) is the dominant segment owing to the high demand for the product from several end-use industries such as water treatment, air & gas purification. GAC has a comparatively larger particle size than powdered activated charcoal, thereby making it suitable for the removal of contaminants from liquids, air, and gases. GAC is used in the 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 the granulated form of activated charcoal can be attributable to its easy regeneration and reusability, which leads to overall activated carbon market growth.

Powdered activated carbon (PAC) has a particle size smaller than 0.177mm as defined by ASTM; thus, they have a larger surface-area-to-volume ratio. PAC is used in the removal of a 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.

By Application Analysis

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Water Treatment Segment to Dominate till 2027 Owing to Increasing Industrial Activities

The market is categorized into water treatment, air & gas purification, food & beverage, and others, based on application. The water treatment segment holds the largest market share in 2019 and is expected to remain largest throughout the forecast period. Activated charcoal is commonly used in water treatment to adsorb organic compounds, odor and taste compounds, toxic substances, and oils. It is widely used due to its high porosity and offers 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 market growth. Besides, the strict norms implemented to treat industrial wastewater are expected to support the activated charcoal segment growth.  

In the food & beverage industry, activated charcoal 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 charcoal for food & beverage application. Increasing attention of consumers towards food safety and quality is expected to support the market growth. Furthermore, activated charcoal has applications in industries for the recovery of various solvents and purification of CO2, waste gases and to control mercury vapor emissions, especially from fossil fuel-based power plants.

Activated charcoal 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 manufacturing of energy storage devices, thereby increasing the demand for activated charcoal for applications in batteries.


Asia Pacific Activated Carbon Market Size, 2019 (USD Million)

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Asia Pacific dominated the market with a value of USD 1,186.7 million in 2019. It is expected to remain dominant throughout the forecast period due to China and India being two of the major activated charcoal consuming countries, mainly 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 resulting in increasing demand for activated charcoal. Additionally, ease of availability of raw materials and their low costs will support the growth of the market.

In North America, the U.S. led the market due to increased demand for activated charcoal 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 the product 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 the environment have resulted in the growth of activated charcoal in applications including water treatment, mercury absorption, and air purification. This is expected to create several growth opportunities for the activated charcoal market in Europe.

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


Key Market Players to Strengthen their Position by Providing Activated Charcoal/Carbon Solutions to the Packaging Industry

Major producers such as Kuraray Co., Ltd. and Cabot Corporation have a widespread presence around the globe. They offer various types of activated charcoal 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.

Osaka Gas Chemicals Co., Ltd. develops and uses technologies to supply a variety of products into meeting consumer requirements. These products include activated charcoal with higher performance for special applications in several industries such as air environment, water purification, food and beverages.

January 2019, Calgon Carbon Corporation announced the global price increase on all activated charcoal products and other related equipment. This increase in price is due to the continued boom in raw material prices and transportation expenditures. The price increase ranged between 10-15% depending on raw material type, a specific product, and global market dynamics.


  • 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)

  • Adsorbent Carbons (India)

  • Genuine Shell Carb (India)

  • Indo German Carbons (India)

  • Other Players


  • September 2018 – Kuraray Co., Ltd. completed the 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 companies have complementary products and services, and they will continue to deliver quality activated charcoal and filtration media products, equipment, and services. With this acquisition, Kuraray will increase its global presence in activated charcoal and filtration media.

  • September 2016 – Cabot Norit Activated Carbon launched a new high performance activated charcoal 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. The company gained significant market share post-launch of this product.


An Infographic Representation of Activated Carbon Market

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The activated carbon market research report provides detailed industry analysis and focuses on crucial aspects such as leading companies, applications, and types. Also, the report offers insights into activated carbon 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 over recent years.

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Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



  Value (USD Million) and Volume (Kilo Ton)


  By Type, By Application and By Region

By Type


  • Powdered

  • Granular

  • Others

By Application


  • Water Treatment

  • Air & Gas Purification

  • Food & Beverage

  • Others

By Geography


  • North America

    • By Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • U.S.

      • Canada

  • Europe

    • By Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Germany

      • France

      • UK

      • Italy

      • Spain

      • Russia

      • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific

    • By Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • China

      • Japan

      • India

      • South Korea

      • Rest of Asia-Pacific

  • Latin America

    • By Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Argentina

      • Rest of South America

  • Middle East & Africa

    • By Type

    • By Application

    • By Country

      • Saudi Arabia

      • UAE

      • Rest of Middle East & Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 2,856.7 Million in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 4,064.7 Million by 2027.

In 2019, the market value stood at USD 4. 2,856.7 Million.

Growing at a CAGR of 4.8%, the market will exhibit steady growth in the forecast period (2020-2027).

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

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

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

Asia Pacific dominated the global market in 2019.

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

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