Activated Carbon for Mercury Control Market size is forecast to reach $11.2 billion by 2025, after growing at a CAGR of 10.3% during 2020-2025, owing to the increasing usage of activated carbon for mercury control to comply with the stringent government regulations. Mercury emissions from coal-fired generators, cement kilns, industrial boilers, natural gas burning, waste incinerators, and steel mills are a serious environmental concern due to the toxicity and persistence of mercury that creates air pollution and accumulates in waterways. In response to these concerns, the government is imposing various stringent regulations for pollution control across the world, which is expected to be the key growth driver for activated carbon for mercury control market during the forecast period.
Activated Carbon for Mercury Control Market Segment Analysis – By Application
The gold mining industry held the largest share in the activated carbon for mercury control market in 2019 and is growing at a CAGR of 8.7%. Many bodies of gold ore contain high mercury levels that are co-extracted with gold. This mercury then travels to present health, environmental, and technical issues through the processing circuit. The removal of mercury by using activated carbon from the circuit mitigates the need for retorting of the produced gold, reduces the potential environmental impact of any waste solutions, and decreases any potential mercury exposure to mining workers. The adsorption technique of activated carbon has several advantages over other techniques including the design simplicity, ease of operation, and high removal efficiency, which could reach 90–99%. According to United States Geological Survey (USGS), production of gold by U.S. mines was about 17,000 kilograms (kg) in January 2020; a slight increase compared with December 2019 production. Production of gold by U.S. mines was about 16,700 kilograms (kg) in December 2019. With the flourishing mining industry, the demand for activated carbon for mercury control will also increase, which is anticipated to drive the activated carbon for mercury control market.
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Activated Carbon for Mercury Control Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia Pacific region held the largest share in the activated carbon for mercury control market in 2019 up to 36%, owing to the increasing gold mining industry in the region. Production of gold bullion in India is reported both in primary and secondary forms and includes gold recovered from imported copper concentrates. According to the World Gold Council (WGC), China was the largest gold producer in the world in 2016, accounting for around 14% of total annual production. Asia as a whole produced 23% of all newly-mined gold. According to the Indian Minerals Yearbook (IMY), the total production of gold bullion during 2017-18 was 12,497 kg, which increased by about 24% as compared to 10,082 kg in the previous year. According to China Mineral Resources (CMR), the reserves & resources of gold increased by 12167.0 tons of metal in 2016 to 13195.6 tons of metal in 2017, a total increase of 8.5% in China. According to the Australian Government, proved and probable ore reserves of gold increased by 3869 tons in 2017 to 4018 tons in 2018, an increase of 149 t. With the flourishing gold mining industry, the demand for activated carbon for mercury control will also increase, which is anticipated to drive the activated carbon for mercury control market.
Activated Carbon for Mercury Control Market Drivers
Increasing Coal and Oil & Gas Production
Mercury emissions from coal- and oil & gas boilers are a serious environmental concern due to the toxicity and persistence of mercury that creates air pollution and accumulates in waterways. Due to which the coal and oil & gas industries are extensively using activated carbon for mercury control. According to China Mineral Resources (CMR), the technologically recoverable reserves of oil, natural gas, and shale gas increased by 1.2%, 1.6%, and 62.0% respectively. The reserves and resources of coal increased from 1598.00 billion tons in 2016 to 1666.67 billion tons in 2017, a total increase of 4.3% in China. According to the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers (IOGP), African gas demand is accelerating. It has doubled in 15 years (from 72 billion cubic meters) and, in the past five years, it has increased by nearly 30%. In 2018, the region required 150 billion cubic meters, a 6.6% increase over the previous year. In 2018, North America produced more gas than its internal market needed, giving it a Production Indicator of 103%. The increasing Coal and Oil & Gas production is boosting the activated carbon for mercury control market, which acts as a driver for the activated carbon for mercury control market during the forecast period.
Stringent government regulations over pollution control and hazardous gas emission
Various international Governments are trying to find a sustainable way to be environment friendly for which a series of policies are published for eliminating the usage of mercury. Utilities face a challenging regulatory environment with Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) in the United States, and Canada-wide Standards. The Environmental Protection Agency-“Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT)” regulations in the United States are intended to reduce the effects of hazardous air pollutants. The Clean Air Act regulates 188 air toxics, also known as “hazardous air pollutants” which lists mercury as one of these air toxins. Under the Clean Water Act, no person may release any pollutant into waters unless the person has a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The Battery Act of 1996 (Mercury-Containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act) phases out the use of mercury in batteries and provides for efficient and cost-effective disposal. Thus, all these stringent government regulations act as a driver for the market and are influencing activated carbon for mercury control market growth.
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Activated Carbon for Mercury Control Market Challenges
High Cost of Activated Carbon
The mercury control industry has been facing many challenges since activated carbon is very expensive, which makes the adsorption process more costly. As there are fewer large-volume applications, activated carbon consumption for gas-phase applications is less than for liquid-phase applications, and the spent carbon can be regenerated. Activated carbons, however, are more costly for gas-phase applications than those used in liquid-phase applications. To reduce the cost of activated carbon production one should select the raw material with the highest product yield, adopt a chemical activation production scheme, and should base product price on the product-surface area. Petroleum coke is a raw material that well meets the criteria mentioned above, but others (charcoals and carbon black) are also promising. Production cost can be optimized by determining its minimum value of cost that results from the intercept between the curves of plant capacity and raw material cost. Thus, the high cost of activated carbon unlatches the door for alternate options, which acts as a restrain for the activated carbon for mercury control market.
Covid-19 Impact on The Activated Carbon for Mercury Control Market
Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the activated carbon for mercury control end-use industries is facing issues such as delays in receiving raw materials, especially from China. Also, the shipments’ orders are being heavily affected due to the non-availability of vessels, blank sailing, and import restrictions. The global pandemic of Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) not only caused infections and deaths but also wreaked havoc with the global economy. The mining sector is not immune to these impacts, and the crisis could have severe short, medium, and long-term consequences for the industry. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), in January 2020, the share prices of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, two of the largest mining companies in the world, stood at $56.34 and $60.50 respectively. As of March 18, 2020, before recovering slightly to a share price of $36.56 on April 3, 2020, BHP had lost 45 percent of its value. Rio Tinto followed a similar path, bottoming out at $36.42, a 40 percent drop, before slowly recovering again on April 3, 2020, to $45.06. In addition to impacts through lower prices mining activity itself has been hit directly by Covid-19. In Mongolia, because of government regulations, Rio Tinto was forced to suspend non-essential operations. Mineworkers in Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Chile have tested positive. Several operations in South Africa have had to shut-down production, bringing additional future capital costs from re-opening mine sites in the future. Thus, all these are affecting the activated carbon for mercury control market negatively.
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the activated carbon for mercury control market. In 2019, the market of activated carbon for mercury control has been consolidated by the top five players accounting for xx% of the share. Major players in the activated carbon for mercury control market are Haycarb Plc, Carbotech AC GmbH, Albemarle corp., Calgon Carbon Corporation, Alstom S.A., Cabot Norit N.V., Nucon International Inc, ADAcarbon solutions, Clarimex Group, Donau Chemie Group, and Babcock Power Inc.
In December 2018, Advanced Emissions Solutions, Inc. acquired ADA Carbon Solutions, LLC (“Carbon Solutions”). It joins ADES as a leading producer of Powdered Activated Carbon (“PAC”) solutions for the coal-fired power plant, industrial and potable water markets.
Asia Pacific dominates the activated carbon for mercury control market, owing to the increasing demand for well-activated carbon for mercury control from the flourishing mine industries in the region. Increasing per capita income and industrialization are the key factor driving the mining industry in the Asia Pacific region.
In the process of coal-burning large amount of mercuric emission takes place. And the activated carbon injection is being extensively used in this process to lessen the amount of flue gas from coal burning, which is boosting the activated carbon for mercury control market growth during the forecast period.
The market of activated carbon for mercury control is anticipated to grow during the forecast period as it is efficiently used in various end-use industries for NOx control, enhancement of particulate control, or selective catalytic reduction (SCR).
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the countries have gone under lockdown, due to which the operations of mining and cement production are disruptively stopped, which is hampering the activated carbon for mercury control market growth.
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