US Demand for Activated Carbon to Approach 1.3 Billion Pounds in 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 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) Rule, which should be fully implemented by 2015, will lead to healthy gains in water treatment applications as well.  Rising motor vehicle production, increased pharmaceutical output, and improving economic conditions will drive strong growth in several smaller applications. These and other trends are presented in Activated Carbon, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. 

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 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.  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. 

Activated Carbon (published 05/2013, 311 pages)is available for $5300 from The Freedonia Group, Inc., 767 Beta Drive, Cleveland, OH  44143-2326.  For further details, please contact Corinne Gangloff by phone 440.684.9600, fax 440.646.0484 or e-mail Information may also be obtained through

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