Spurred by environmental campaigns, the activated carbon industry has been growing steadily in China. The global activated carbon market was worth approximately USD2.84 billion in 2017, showing a CAGR of 13.0% between 2012 and 2017, and the market size is estimated to reach USD3.22 billion in 2018 and over USD6.0 billion in 2023.

China is a big producer of activated carbon around the globe, with its production beginning to pick up along with the growing demand from downstream sectors over the recent years. In 2017, China produced about 493 kt of activated carbon (almost at the level in 2011), up 5.3% from a year earlier, and the output figure is expected to jump to 517 kt in 2018. In future, the activated carbon market will balloon further under the impetus of national policy and demand growth, and the output will maintain an AAGR of at least 5.0% during 2018-2023.

As far as segmented products are concerned, Chinese activated carbon market is led by coal-based activated carbon whose output reached 316 kt as a percentage of over 64.0% in national total output of activated carbon in 2017. Due to the supply-side reform in the coal industry and the state’s policy support for the wood-based activated carbon industry, the market share of coal-based activated carbon will be squeezed progressively by wood-based activated carbon.

When it comes to prices, the price of activated carbon began to rebound in 2017. Elaborately, the price of coal-based activated carbon surged by more than 20.0% from RMB6,000/ton or so at the beginning of the year to around RMB7,300/ton at the end of the year; the price of wood-based activated carbon ascended by about 13.0%. Price hikes were largely due to demand growth and higher production costs caused by environmental protection laws.

In China, competition remains a stable pattern in the activated carbon market. The manufacturers of coal-based activated carbon mainly include Datong Coal Jinding Activated Carbon, Shanxi Xinhua Chemical, Ningxia Huahui Activated Carbon and Inner Mongolia Taixi Coal Group; in 2017, CR5 was 48.0%. Wood-based activated carbon is produced mostly by Fujian Yuanli Active Carbon, Fujian Xinsen Carbon and Fujian Zhixing Activated Carbon; in 2017, CR5 was above 50.0%.

The Chinese activated carbon market in future will be characterized as follows:

1. The activated carbon regeneration market enjoys bright prospects, largely because: 1) mishandling of ineffective waste carbon will cause secondary pollution; 2) the cost of incineration and purchasing new carbon is far higher than that of activated carbon regeneration; 3) regenerated activated carbon produces only one-fifth of the carbon dioxide that the new activated carbon does.

2. The market demand for coconut shell-based activated carbon keeps ever growing. Activated carbon has been increasingly utilized in air and water purification as environmental pollution is becoming more serious. Because of supply-side reform in coal industry and the State’s stringent control on pollutants, the demand for coal-based activated carbon trends down, leaving room for the growth of coconut shell-based activated carbon.

3. Activated carbon will find wider application in environmental protection, typically used in: recovery of organic solvents, desulfurization & denitrification, adsorption & concentration and catalytic combustion of organic vapors, sewage treatment, deep purification, etc.. Also, activated carbon has been used in agriculture, such as biological activated carbon base fertilizer.

Global and China Activated Carbon Industry Report, 2018-2023 underlines the followings:

  • Activated carbon (definition, classification, sales model, industry chain, etc.);
  • Global activated carbon industry (Overview, market size and structure, market size in major countries, etc.);
  • China’s activated carbon industry (Overview, development environment, market situation, market structure, imports & exports, competitive landscape, development trends, etc.);
  • Status quo of upstream sectors (wood cutting/processing, chemical activator, coal, etc.);
  • Size, status quo, etc. of applied markets (water treatment, food & beverage, pharmaceuticals, automobile, chemical/metallurgy, etc.);
  • 6 foreign and 19 Chinese activated carbon enterprises (operation, activated carbon business, etc.).