Global demand for activated carbon was about 1.65 million tons in 2016, up 6.7% from a year ago, and recorded a CAGR of 6.3% during 2012-2016. As the public become increasingly aware of the harm caused by air and water pollution to health, the demand for activated carbon all over the world will continue to increase, approaching an estimated 2.10 million tons in 2021.
China, the world's second largest consumer of activated carbon just behind the United States, needed about 440,000 tons in 2016, accounting for 26.7% of the global total. Still in the stage of rapid development, the country will witness a continued increase in the application of activated carbon in industry, food & beverage, and sewage treatment with the demand for activated carbon nearing an estimated 600,000 tons in 2021. Meanwhile, the country is also a big activated carbon producer (about 670,000 tons in 2016 and close to 900,000 tons as predicted in 2021).
Activated carbon, according to the material, can be divided into wood-based, coal based activated carbon , coconut shell-based, and nutshell-based ones. China produced about 430,000 tons of coal-based activated carbon and over 200,000 tons of wood-based activated carbon in 2016. Due to environmental protection and supply-side reform in the coal industry, the output of coal-based activated carbon will decline, while that of wood-based and coconut shell-based activated carbons will rise steadily.
Price: coconut shell-based activated carbon commands the highest price, above RMB10,000/t, compared with around RMB7,000/t for nutshell-based activated carbon and RMB5,000/t for coal-based activated carbon). www.coconutactivatedcarbon.com The price of coconut shell-based activated carbon has begun falling since Jul 2016 because of enhanced supply capacity of coconut shell activated carbon enterprises and fiercer market competition.
Competitive landscape: among a large number of activated carbon producers in China, only a few have annual capacity of more than 10,000 tons. In 2016, Fujian Yuanli Active Carbon was the champion in the wood-based activated carbon field with a market share of over 20%, while Datong Coal Jinding Activated Carbon took the lead in the coal-based activated carbon field with a market share of over 15%.