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Coal is a key non-renewable raw material that has been used for the production of activated carbon over the last few years. Coal is extensively consumed in other core industrial applications, such as power generation. Therefore, alternate sources of raw materials, such as wood, are likely to gain momentum in the near future. Activated carbon produced from wood has significant carbon content and lesser inorganic components and impurities hence, wood is a viable source of raw material. Key attributes of wood activated carbon include high porosity, well developed surface area, and good mechanical strength.
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The global wood activated carbon market has been segmented based on application and region. Based on application, the global wood activated carbon market has been divided into gas adsorption, removal of impurities, decolorization, and others. The removal of impurities segment dominates the wood activated carbon market, followed by the decolorization segment. Implementation of regulations related to water and air pollution across the globe is a key factor driving the global wood activated carbon market. Several underdeveloped economies across the globe are facing the challenge of depleting clean water resources due to the rise in population. Surge in demand for purification of contaminated groundwater and increase in demand for the removal of particulate matter and mercury emissions from liquid and gases streams are boosting the wood activated carbon market. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act, the country limits the concentration of disinfection by-products (DBP) in drinking water. In 2015, the U.S. established new rules to assess and manage risks of algal toxins in public water systems. These factors are expected to increase the demand for wood activated carbon in drinking water applications. Increase in environment protection legislations is estimated to propel the demand for wood activated carbon. The U.S. EPA and European Union’s REACH require industries to treat wastewater before releasing it into the environment. This, in turn, is projected to significantly increase the demand for wood activated carbon during the forecast period.
Wood activated carbon is employed in various applications that clean the environment. Demand for wood activated carbon is likely to increase owing to the rise in focus on sustainability and environment recovery. Wood activated carbon is increasingly used in filtration units of pharmaceutical and synthetic chemicals and food & beverages industries for purification, and deodorization of ingredients. This is a major factor boosting the wood activated carbon market. Recovery in the auto industry is anticipated to be a key factor driving the demand for wood activated carbon. Wood activated carbon canisters are used in vehicles to reduce hydrocarbon emission and improve the performance of the engine. Increase in production of automotive in developing economies such as China, India, and Mexico is likely to propel the demand for wood activated carbon in the automotive industry in the near future.
In terms of region, the global wood activated carbon market has been segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is anticipated to dominate the global wood activated carbon market during the forecast period. Countries, such as China, depend on coal for 70% of their primary energy production. The Ministry for Environmental Protection (MEP) in China has initiated guidelines for mercury emission from 40 different source types in China. The country has been steadily increasing air pollution emission standards in each of its Five-Year Plans. The Five-Year Plan (12th Plan, 2012 – 16) continues to limit the concentration of mercury emissions from the power industry. This, in turn, is expected to boost the demand for wood activated carbon in the country during the forecast period. In North America, the U.S. was a leading consumer of wood activated carbon in 2017. Surge in automobile production, especially in the U.S., implementation of stringent emission norms in the automotive sector, and rise in emphasis on the removal of contaminants from wastewater in the region are propelling the demand for wood activated carbon. In Europe, Germany, the U.K., and countries in Rest of Europe are expected to create lucrative opportunities for manufacturers due to the rise in emphasis on mercury emission control and increase in application of wood activated carbon in food & beverage and medical industries. Presently, the market in Latin America and Middle East & Africa is expanding at a sluggish pace; however, the market in these regions is projected to expand at a moderate pace in the next few years. Demand for wood activated carbon in countries in Latin America, such as Brazil and Argentina, is expected to rise significantly due to the surge in manufacturing and industrial sectors and increase in demand for advanced urban water management technologies. In Middle East & Africa, countries in GCC are highly dependent on oil revenues. Rise in stringent regulations on mercury emission across the globe are prompting oil & gas companies in the region to adopt economical and eco-friendly processes to curb unwanted contaminants. Additionally, population in countries and sub-regions in Middle East & Africa, such as South Africa and GCC, is increasing rapidly. This, in turn, in increasing the demand for fresh drinking water. However, the region has limited water resources and poor water management technologies. Rise in government and private funding to provide quality water to population boosts the demand for wood activated carbon in the region. For instance, the Government of South Africa, as a part of its long-term National Development Plan-2030, has cited water issues as a top priority and they are collaborating with various water treatment companies to address the issues related to water management. These factors are expected to provide lucrative opportunities to manufacturers in the near future.
Major players operating in the global wood activated carbon market include Kuraray Chemicals Co Ltd., Cabot Corporation, Ingevity Corporation, and Osaka Gas Chemicals Co. Ltd. Other manufacturers of wood activated carbon include Fujian Zhixing Activated Carbon Co., Ltd., Oxbow Activated Carbon, LLC, and Carbo Tech AC GmbH.