Activated Carbon Market - Growth, Trends, COVID-19 Impact, and Forecasts (2021 - 2026)

The Activated Carbon Market is segmented by Product Type (Powdered Activated Carbon, Granular Activated Carbon, and Pelletized or Extruded Activated Carbon), Application (Gas Purification, Water Purification, Metal Extraction, Medicine, and Other Applications), End-user Industry (Water Treatment, Food and Beverage, Healthcare, Automotive, Industrial Processing, and Other End-user Industries), and Geography (Asia-Pacific, North America, Europe, South America, and Middle-East and Africa).

Market Snapshot

Activated Carbon Market Overview
Study Period: 2016 - 2026
Base Year: 2020
Fastest Growing Market: Asia Pacific
Largest Market: Asia Pacific
CAGR: >3 %
Activated Carbon Market Major Players

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Market Overview

The activated carbon market was valued at around 1,666 kiloton in 2020, and the market is projected to register a CAGR of over 3% during the forecast period (2021-2026).

Due to COVID-19, the economies of several countries have been badly affected, and several industries' growth and production have declined. However, the usage of activated carbon in face masks increased the market, as the demand for face masks increased due to the pandemic. Many manufacturing companies were on halt, and few continued their flow of supply, making sure the industries which rely on their products are kept alive, such as Haycarb. Haycarb PLC, in the battle against the global pandemic, donated 3,000 face masks of Oxypura Care brand equipped with a carbon filter along with a TDK 20 filter material.

  • In the medium term, major factors driving the market studied are conformance to stringent environmental regulations in water treatment applications in the United States and augmenting prominence for air pollution control (especially mercury removal).
  • On the flip side, narrower markets due to the increased costs of some grades of activated carbon and the threat of substitutes like silica gel and supersand are expected to hinder the growth of the market studied.
  • Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the world with the largest consumption from the countries, such as China and Japan.

Scope of the Report

Activated carbon is a form of carbon processed to have small, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption or chemical reactions. Usually, activated carbon is extracted from charcoal. The activated carbon market is segmented by product type, application, end-user industry, and geography. By product type, the market is segmented into powdered activated carbon (PAC), granular activated carbon (GAC), extruded or pelletized activated carbon. By application, the market is segmented into gas purification, water purification, metal extraction, medicine, and other applications. By end-user industry, the market is segmented into water treatment, food and beverage, healthcare, automotive, industrial processing, and other end-user industries. The report also covers the market size and forecasts for the activated carbon market in 16 countries across major regions. For each segment, the market sizing and forecasts have been done on the basis of volume (kiloton) and revenue (USD million).

Product Type
Powdered Activated Carbons (PAC)
Granular Activated Carbons (GAC)
Extruded or Pelletized Activated Carbon
Gas Purification
Water Purification
Metal Extraction
Other Applications
End-user Industry
Water Treatment
Food and Beverage
Industrial Processing
Other End-user Industries
South Korea
Rest of Asia-Pacific
North America
United States
United Kingdom
Rest of Europe
South America
Rest of South America
Middle-East and Africa
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
Rest of Middle-East and Africa

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Key Market Trends

Increasing Demand for Water Treatment Application

  • Water treatment is the largest application of activated carbon. Most of the water treatment filters are made up of granular activated carbon.
  • In terms of volume, the water treatment segment is estimated to have the largest share, with around 52% of the total market, in 2020.
  • It is used for the removal of organic-chemical substances and colorants and reduces trace substances, such as chemicals.
  • Activated carbon is used as a polishing step to remove dissolved organic and non-biodegradable compounds, following physical and biological pre-treatment processes to remove solids and biological oxygen demand.
  • Activated carbon removes the impurities from water primarily through surface adsorption. Usage of activated carbon for water purification purposes is also the most cost-efficient point-of-use (POU) water purification device.
  • Additionally, the federal policy programs, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act coordinated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), provide treatment and discharge regulations, funding programs, and frameworks for operating and applying innovative water and wastewater treatment technologies. Hence, this is further expected to boost the demand for activated carbon from the water treatment segment.
  • Moreover, capacitive deionization (CDI) has attracted increasing interest as a promising electrochemical technique for desalination of the sea or brackish water. In this technique, activated carbon is considered a promising CDI electrode material, mainly because of its high specific surface areas, low cost, and scalability.
  • Therefore, considering the aforementioned factors, the demand for activated carbon is expected to rise from the water treatment segment during the forecast period. Moreover, the COVID-19 outbreak is expected to have a positive impact on the market due to increasing awareness toward water safety and hygiene.
Activated Carbon Market Trends

China to Dominate the Market in the Asia-Pacific Region

  • The Asia-Pacific region is expected to dominate the market, with China being the top.
  • In the Asia-Pacific region, China is the largest economy in terms of GDP. The country witnessed about 6.1% growth in its GDP during 2019, even after the trade disturbance caused due to its trade war with the United States. The economic growth rate of China in 2020 was initially expected to be moderate as compared to the previous year. However, due to the onset of COVID-19 in 2020, the economic growth of China is estimated to contract to some extent and is expected to witness recovery in 2021.​
  • China is the second-largest consumer country of activated carbon in the world after the United States. Activated carbon is used widely in water treatment, food and beverage, healthcare, automotive industries, and industrial processing.
  • Increasing water requirements from the industrial sector and changing government regulations for the prevention of water pollution and control action plan have increased the demand for water treatment in recent years. Moreover, according to government statistics, the water shortage in China’s coastal areas is expected to reach 21.4 billion m3 by 2030. This shortage of water for industrial and residential use is expected to increase the demand for water treatment during the forecast period.​
  • China has one of the major food industries across the world. The growing population and the average per capita consumption are major drivers for the growth of the food market in the country. The revenue generated by the Chinese food industry increased from USD 248 billion in 2010 to USD 498 billion in 2019. The revenue generated by the meat products and sausages increased from USD 41.3 million in 2010 to USD 87.2 million in 2019. The revenue generated from milk products increased from USD 31.3 million in 2010 to USD 71.2 million in 2019.​
  • Wastewater treatment is mainly because of the coal, steel, and iron industries which require fresh water for day-to-day activities.
  • North China has approximately 90% of the country’s coal-based industries. Also, North China has fewer reserves of freshwater, therefore, increasing the demand for wastewater technologies, which, in turn, is providing opportunities for the activated carbon market during the forecast period.
  • Hence, from the above-mentioned factors, China is likely to dominate the market in the Asia-Pacific region during the forecast period.
Activated Carbon Market Share

Competitive Landscape

  • The activated carbon market is consolidated, where the top-five players accounting for a major share in the global market. The major companies for the activated carbon market include Cabot Corporation, Jacobi Carbons Group, Ingevity, Kuraray Co Ltd, and Haycarb (Pvt) Ltd, among others.

Recent Developments

  • In February 2021, Ingevity Corporation expanded its activated carbon production capacity following significant debottlenecking and equipment upgrades completed and verified in late December at its facility in Zhuhai, China. The Zhuhai plant has been in operation since 2015 and includes activated carbon production and state-of-the-art automotive applications.
  • In June 2020, Calgon Carbon Corporation announced that it intends to expand capacity at its Pearlington, Mississippi plant by adding a second virgin activated carbon production line. The estimated investment in the additional production line will be USD 185 million. When completed, Calgon Carbon’s virgin granular activated carbon capacity will exceed 200 million pounds per year.

Table of Contents


    1. 1.1 Study Assumptions

    2. 1.2 Scope of the Study




    1. 4.1 Drivers

      1. 4.1.1 Conformance to Stringent Environmental Regulations in Water Treatment Applications in the United States

      2. 4.1.2 Augmenting Prominence for Air Pollution Control (Especially Mercury Removal)

    2. 4.2 Restraints

      1. 4.2.1 Narrower Markets Due to Increased Costs of Some Grades of Activated Carbon

      2. 4.2.2 Threat of Substitutes Like Silica Gel and Supersand

      3. 4.2.3 Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Industries like Automotive, Industrial, etc.

    3. 4.3 Industry Value Chain Analysis

    4. 4.4 Porter's Five Forces Analysis

      1. 4.4.1 Bargaining Power of Suppliers

      2. 4.4.2 Bargaining Power of Consumers

      3. 4.4.3 Threat of New Entrants

      4. 4.4.4 Threat of Substitute Products and Services

      5. 4.4.5 Degree of Competition

    5. 4.5 Regulatory Policies

    6. 4.6 Trade Analysis

    7. 4.7 Price Trends

    8. 4.8 Technological Snapshot

    9. 4.9 Production Analysis


    1. 5.1 Product Type

      1. 5.1.1 Powdered Activated Carbons (PAC)

      2. 5.1.2 Granular Activated Carbons (GAC)

      3. 5.1.3 Extruded or Pelletized Activated Carbon

    2. 5.2 Application

      1. 5.2.1 Gas Purification

      2. 5.2.2 Water Purification

      3. 5.2.3 Metal Extraction

      4. 5.2.4 Medicine

      5. 5.2.5 Other Applications

    3. 5.3 End-user Industry

      1. 5.3.1 Water Treatment

      2. 5.3.2 Food and Beverage

      3. 5.3.3 Healthcare

      4. 5.3.4 Automotive

      5. 5.3.5 Industrial Processing

      6. 5.3.6 Other End-user Industries

    4. 5.4 Geography

      1. 5.4.1 Asia-Pacific

        1. China

        2. India

        3. Japan

        4. South Korea

        5. Rest of Asia-Pacific

      2. 5.4.2 North America

        1. United States

        2. Canada

        3. Mexico

      3. 5.4.3 Europe

        1. Germany

        2. United Kingdom

        3. Italy

        4. France

        5. Rest of Europe

      4. 5.4.4 South America

        1. Brazil

        2. Argentina

        3. Rest of South America

      5. 5.4.5 Middle-East and Africa

        1. Saudi Arabia

        2. South Africa

        3. Rest of Middle-East and Africa


    1. 6.1 Mergers and Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Collaborations, and Agreements

    2. 6.2 Market Share/Ranking Analysis**

    3. 6.3 Strategies Adopted by Leading Players

    4. 6.4 Company Profiles

      1. 6.4.1 Advanced Emissions Solutions Inc.

      2. 6.4.2 Albemarle Corporation

      3. 6.4.3 Cabot Corporation​

      4. 6.4.4 Carbon Activated Corporation​

      5. 6.4.5 CPL Activated Carbons​

      6. 6.4.6 Donau Carbon GmbH 

      7. 6.4.7 Evoqua Water Technologies LLC​

      8. 6.4.8 HAYCARB (PVT) LTD

      9. 6.4.9 Ingevity​

      10. 6.4.10 Jacobi Carbons Group​

      11. 6.4.11 Kuraray Co. Ltd​

      12. 6.4.12 Kureha Corporation​

      13. 6.4.13 Prominent Systems Inc.

      14. 6.4.14 Puragen Activated Carbons​

      15. 6.4.15 Silcarbon Aktivkohle GmbH​

      16. 6.4.16 Veolia​

    5. *List Not Exhaustive

    1. 7.1 Increasing Popularity of Recycled Activated Carbon

**Subject to Availability

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Activated Carbon Market market is studied from 2016 - 2026.

The Activated Carbon Market is growing at a CAGR of >3% over the next 5 years.

Asia Pacific is growing at the highest CAGR over 2021- 2026.

Asia Pacific holds highest share in 2020.

Cabot Corporation, JACOBI CARBONS GROUP, Kuraray Co., Ltd., HAYCARB (PVT) LTD., Ingevity are the major companies operating in Activated Carbon Market.

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