Regulatory uncertainty, trade tariffs, mergers and acquisitions, and raw
material shortages have all been features of the market over the last five
years in the activated carbon industry. This latest report from Roskill
reviews these changes and examines their impact on the industry. One of the
major drivers behind many of them is emerging North American demand for
powdered activated carbon in mercury control applications, which grew at a
dramatic 101% per year between 2007 and 2012, compared with an average overall
growth rate for all applications of 13% per year.
Profiling over 150 activated carbon operations, including coal-based, coconut
shell-based and wood-based production, Roskill's 350 page Global Industry and
Market Outlook offers a comprehensive review of the whole activated carbon
industry. From raw material sources through to developing end-use applications
the report covers every aspect of the subject, examining trends and providing
analysis to give decision makers clarity and an understanding of the market.
Liquid-phase end uses were still by far the largest application for activated
carbon in 2012, accounting for an estimated 80% of total consumption.
Gas-phase uses accounted for 20% of the world market in 2012 and their share
of the market will increase to 2017. Water treatment was by far the largest
individual market for activated carbon in 2012 and is the largest liquid-phase
It is interesting to note that the relative importance of each application for
activated carbon varies significantly from country to country. Activated
carbon is a bulky, highly adsorbent material that actually consists mainly of
air and is relatively difficult to transport. Its indigenous, domestic uses,
however, go back to ancient times. In 2012, gold recovery, for example,
accounted for >65% of Australian demand for activated carbon but for only a
negligible share of European consumption. Wine treatment accounts for a
larger proportion of French demand for activated carbon than of Middle Eastern
Activated carbon markets are entering a period of fast growth. The next four
years could see world consumption almost double. Enough new production
capacity should be in place by 2017 to meet new demand, but the potential
exists for a shortage. Raw materials availability is a concern.
The main reason for the change is a piece of mercury control legislation, the
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Mercury and Air Toxics Standard
(MATS), which was signed on 16 December 2011 and is designed to reduce
mercury, other metals and acid gas emissions from coal- and oil-fired power
plants. Activated carbon injection systems are the dominant control technology
to address mercury emissions in 2013. In October 2013, a new UN Treaty on
mercury control will be signed that holds even greater potential for activated
The corporate landscape is also shifting. Sixteen companies now account for
almost two thirds of total activated carbon production capacity and just two
countries account for the same proportion of world capacity.
During 2012 activated carbon prices achieved record highs. Roskill examines
future supply and demand trends to see if those highs will continue.
China: Exports of act. carbon to Japan compared to
average value of exports, 1995 to 2012
Get accurate answers from independent experts
- Will new production capacity be sufficient to meet the demand for
activated carbon injection systems created by mercury control legislation?
- What are the future implications of the new UN mercury control treaty
negotiated in January 2013 for activated carbon markets?
- Which companies are winning supply contracts from US power plants?
- What are the other growing markets for activated carbon?