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When phase-in of the US Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) began, it was assumed that the activated carbon market would see robust growth over the next several years. Implementation has been delayed, however, and the US is expected to be one of the slowest growing markets for activated carbon in mercury removal worldwide through 2022. China, on the other hand, is stepping up its enforcement of environmental legislation, particularly air and water quality. As a result, China’s activated carbon market will see robust growth going forward.
How has the recent slowdown in the US affected merger and acquisition activity?
Which product type will post the fastest increase as interest in clean water and air grows in the developing world?
This study examines worldwide demand for virgin activated carbon (also called activated charcoal), including:
powdered activated carbon
granular activated carbon
a variety of specialty activated carbon products (fiber, cloth, monoliths, etc.)
This study also includes reactivated carbon sold by suppliers, but excludes carbon reactivated on-site or through a reactivation service agreement. The term “regeneration” is used interchangeably with the term “desorption” to mean the removal of contaminants from activated carbon, while “reactivation” is used when discussing the destruction of contaminants and the recovery of adsorption capacity.
Demand is presented by product type, application, and geographic sector. Historical data are provided for 2007, 2012, and 2017, with forecasts for 2022. The term “demand” refers to “apparent consumption” and is defined as production (also referred to variously as “shipments”, “output”, or “supply”) from a country’s domestic manufacturing facilities plus imports, minus exports. “Demand” is used interchangeably with the terms “market”, “sales”, and “consumption”. Data are presented in thousands of metric tons and millions of US dollars.
Asia/Pacific Region to Lead Growth through 2022
Global demand for activated carbon is expected to increase 4.2% per year through 2022. The Asia/Pacific region will post the fastest increases, supported by attention to air and water quality issues, large sugar production industries, and low-cost, abundant activated carbon feedstocks.
Key Findings in the
Global Activated Carbon Study:
Industrial Air Market Growth Led by China, MATS Delay Slows US
Several global regions are expected to post robust growth in the industrial air treatment market through 2022. China will lead the way, with gains fueled by the central government’s decision to tackle air pollution of all types. Authorities have cracked down on sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) and are in the process of updating the country’s coal power fleet to reduce emissions. Such steps are expected to drive activated carbon demand growth in the near term.
On the other hand, growth in the US will slow, constrained by a delay in the implementation of the US EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. In addition, the US – along with a number of other developed countries – are reducing their reliance on coal. This will limit new opportunities for activated carbon suppliers in both the near and long term.
Powdered Activated Carbon Builds on Strengths for Strong Demand Growth
As a result of air treatment market growth, powdered activated carbon will see faster growth than granular types. In addition to its uses as one of the more effective air pollution control technologies, powdered activated carbon will also post strong gains in liquid phase applications through 2022. In developing markets, this product type is favored due to its low cost, ease of use, and ease of disposal.
Gradual Infrastructure Development to Support Large Water Treatment Segment
While water treatment is a mature market in many countries around the globe, numerous other areas (like India and much of South America) still lack regular access to clean water. Yet more (such as South Africa) are facing water scarcity, while still others (like much of Eastern Europe) confront the legacy of industrial pollution.
China has made efforts to improve its wastewater quality in recent years through its 13th Five Year Plan. For most nations, however, water quality improvement will come at a slow and steady pace as infrastructure is expanded.
Ingevity Expansions Highlight New Vehicle Technology
In 2017, Ingevity completed an expansion of its Georgia, US activated carbon honeycomb plant. In August 2018, the company announced plans to increase capacity for extruded pellets at its Virginia, US plant. Ingevity’s primary focus is the motor vehicle market, and the company expects healthy growth for high-value activated carbon types in this segment. US phase-in of its ULEV II standards and China’s increasingly stringent air quality standards will support dollar gains in these countries.