February 01, 2011 10:08 ET

US Demand for Activated Carbon (AC) to Grow Almost 17% Annually Through 2014

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - February 1, 2011) - has announced the addition of Freedonia Group Inc's new report "Activated Carbon" to their collection of Chemicals market reports. For more information, visit

US demand for activated carbon (AC), including both virgin AC and reactivated product sold by AC suppliers, is forecast to grow almost 17 percent per annum through 2014. The main driver of this exceptional growth will be new demand in mercury control technology for industrial air purification applications. Over the next several years, many US industrial facilities -- including coal-fired power plants, clinker cement plants and other facilities operating large industrial boilers -- will be required to meet stringent new emissions standards for mercury and other hazardous air pollutants overseen by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). New emissions standards were issued for the portland cement industry in late 2010, while comparable rules for a number of other industries will be finalized by late 2011.

An activated carbon injection (ACI) system used for mercury control in a large industrial facility can consume up to two million pounds of AC annually. This represents a tremendous growth opportunity for AC suppliers. Through 2014, demand for powdered activated carbon (PAC) used in mercury control applications alone will grow more than threefold, in the process increasing the share of the US market accounted for by PAC to more than three-quarters.

Granular activated carbon (GAC) types will also see strong growth through 2014, due primarily to expanded use of AC filter systems in municipal drinking water treatment. Heightened demand in this application will stem from new federal drinking water treatment standards being phased in through 2015, which target the elimination of Cryptosporidium, other microbial pathogens and disinfection byproducts from municipal systems. As a result of the new water quality standards, demand for GAC used in drinking water treatment (including both municipal and residential systems) is forecast to more than double through 2014.

Along with the rapid growth underway in the industrial air purification market, demand for AC will improve in other gas phase applications such as emission canisters used in motor vehicles, motorcycles and recreational boats. In liquid phase applications other than drinking water treatment, demand for AC will grow in markets such as pharmaceutical preparations and medical products.

Average selling prices for AC are forecast to improve through 2014. Stiff new tariffs on steam-activated carbon adopted by the US in 2007 have significantly cut the inflow of low-cost virgin AC from China and other Asia/Pacific producers. These import protections, in combination with rapidly growing domestic demand, will establish a good pricing environment for US activated carbon suppliers.

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