This study analyzes the US activated carbon industry. It presents historical demand data for the years 2002, 2007 and 2012, and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by product (e.g., PAC, GAC), application (e.g., water treatment, food and beverage processing, pharmaceutical and medical, mining, industrial air purification, motor vehicles, solvent recovery) and US regional market. The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles industry players.
US demand to rise 11.2% annually through 2017
US demand for activated carbon, including virgin and reactivated products sold by activated carbon suppliers, is expected to grow 11.2 percent per year to almost 1.3 billion pounds in 2017, with market value reaching almost $1.8 billion. Implementation of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) will drive most of the growth, as utilities and industrial manufacturers upgrade their coal-fired power plants to comply with the regulations. Compliance with the EPA’s Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts (DBP) Rules, which will be fully implemented by 2015, will lead to healthy gains in water treatment applications as well. Additionally, rising motor vehicle production, increased pharmaceutical output, and improving economic conditions will drive strong growth in several smaller applications.
New EPA mandates to be main driver of demand
Implementation of the EPA’s new mercury removal standards will be the single most important factor impacting activated carbon demand through 2017. Mercury-emitting industrial facilities such as coal-fired power plants, cement kilns, solid waste incinerators, and other plants with large industrial boilers will predominantly turn to activated carbon injection (ACI) systems to meet these requirements. With an ACI system in a large industrial facility consuming up to two million pounds of powdered activated carbon annually, the phase-in of these new rules is expected to have a powerful impact on activated carbon demand, and powdered products will expand their market share to 70 percent of total US demand in 2017. As powdered activated carbon is generally not reactivated, sales of powdered activated carbon are expected to remain high even beyond the phase-in deadline for the mercury removal standards.
Compliance with EPA regulations will also boost activated carbon demand in water treatment applications. Demand will increase by over 50 million pounds through 2017 as the EPA’s DBP Rules go into full effect. While some compliance with the DBP Rules had been achieved by 2012, the final phase-in of the Rules will continue to promote growth. The majority of activated carbon used to address DBPs will be granular activated carbon, making water treatment applications the best growth opportunity for suppliers of granular products, both virgin and reactivated.
Smaller applications to also see strong growth
Among the smaller uses for activated carbon, motor vehicle applications, including emissions canisters and cabin air filters, will benefit from rebounding US motor vehicle production. Increased pharmaceutical output will promote demand for activated carbon in pharmaceutical and medical applications. Mining applications will also register gains, as increased processing will be necessary to maximize mine output. An improving economy will promote demand for activated carbon in chemical purification and other industrial processes. Many of these smaller applications use highervalue specialty products, such as activated carbon fiber or cloth and carbon monoliths, boosting demand in value terms despite accounting for a small share of overall volume demand. On the other hand, activated carbon use in food and beverage processing and solvent recovery will remain stable.
Company Profiles for competitors in the US industry such as Calgon Carbon, MeadWestvaco, and Norit (Cabot)
This study covers the US activated carbon market, including granular activated carbon and powdered activated carbon. The granular activated carbon product segment includes standard granular activated carbon as well as specialty granular types including extruded or pelletized, spherical, and chemical-impregnated varieties. This study also covers demand for other higher-value activated carbon products including carbon cloth and carbon monoliths. Production and demand figures presented here include both virgin activated carbon and reactivated products (almost entirely granular activated carbons) sold by activated carbon suppliers, except in those places where virgin and reactivated activated carbon production capacities are considered separately. In some instances, the term “reactivation” is used interchangeably with the terms “regeneration” and “desorption” for clarity and ease of reading.
Historical data for 2002, 2007, and 2012 and forecasts to the years 2017 and 2022 are provided for activated carbon demand in pounds. Demand is presented by product type, application (liquid and gas phase), and by regional market within the US. Liquid phase applications include water treatment, food and beverage processing, pharmaceutical and medical preparations, mining, and a number of other, smaller-volume uses. Gas phase applications include industrial air purification, motor vehicle components, solvent recovery, and a number of smaller uses.
The term “demand” actually refers to apparent consumption and is used interchangeably with the terms “market,” “sales,” and “consumption.” Tabular details may not add to totals due to independent rounding. Ratios are rounded to the nearest significant digit. Dollar values cited for the industry are at the basic manufacturer’s level.
This study also presents production capacity figures for granular and powdered activated carbons in the US. Domestic reactivation capacity among activated carbon suppliers is discussed as well, including strategic considerations for reactivation providers. On-site reactivation capacities, such as those found in equipment at major water treatment facilities, are not included in this study.