Implementation of the US Environmental Protection Agency’s new mercury removal standards will be the single most important factor impacting activated carbon demand through 2017.
US demand to rise 11% annually through 2017
US demand for activated carbon, including virgin and reactivated products sold by activated carbon suppliers, is expected to advance over 11 percent per year to almost 1.3 billion pounds in 2017, with market value reaching nearly $1.35 billion. Implementation of the EPA’s new mercury removal standards will be the single most important factor impacting activated carbon demand through 2017.
Powdered activated carbon to expand market share
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 the US total 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 Rule goes into full effect. While some compliance with the DBP Rule 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.
Many smaller applications use higher value products
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, such as purity control in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Mining applications will also see 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 higher-value 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.
This study analyzes the 758 million pound US activated carbon industry. It presents historical demand data for 2002, 2007 and 2012, and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by type (e.g., powdered, granular), application (e.g., water treatment, food and beverage processing, pharmaceutical and medical, mining, industrial air purification, motor vehicles, solvent recovery), and US region.
The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share and profiles 26 industry players such as Calgon Carbon, Cabot Norit Activated Carbon, and MeadWestvaco.