Freedonia Group reports global demand for activated carbon to exceed 2 million tons in 2018
World demand for activated carbon is projected to rise 8.1 percent per year to 2.1 million metric tons in 2018. Tightening regulatory standards, particularly in the two largest markets—the US and China—will drive growth. In the U.S. and other industrialized countries, these stricter standards will reflect increasing emphasis on mercury removal; in contrast, in China and other developing countries, stronger standards and stepped up enforcement will stem from efforts to battle air and water pollution caused by rapid industrialization. Robust growth in mercury removal applications will drive growth in powdered activated carbon demand, which will significantly outpace gains in demand for granular and other activated carbon products. Powdered activated carbons are also favored in developing countries for their low cost and ease of use in other applications such as water treatment. These and other trends are presented in “World Activated Carbon,” a new study from The Freedonia Group Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
In industrialized nations, demand for activated carbon will be primarily influenced by regulatory actions. Analyst Emily Park expects, “Demand for activated carbon in mercury removal applications in the U.S. will more than double by 2018 in response to the full implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards.” Canada and the European Union also have mercury emission standards in place, although these regulations are not as stringent as those in the U.S. Disinfection byproduct (DBP) limits in drinking water will also support increased demand for activated carbon in what is otherwise considered to be a mature application in developed countries.
In China and other developing parts of the world, growth in activated carbon demand will be promoted by a combination of regulatory changes and rising output from key manufacturing industries. Industrial air treatment is increasing in importance as many industrializing countries struggle with significant air pollution issues. While activated carbon use rates in mercury removal applications are expected to remain low relative to those in the U.S., this segment of the market is projected to expand rapidly going forward. Heightened standards for water treatment will also support activated carbon demand, particularly as water management infrastructure continues to improve in both rural and urban areas.