Agri Business

Coconut shell-activated carbon sees export growth

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on September 14, 2020

Activated carbon made from coconut shell has been witnessing good growth in exports, according to an official of the Coconut Development Board.

Speaking at webinar on ‘Exporting coconut products’, organised by the Kasaragod-based Central Plantation Crops Research Institute (CPCRI), Deepthi Nair, Deputy Director of Coconut Development Board, said the country exported 1,03,071 tonnes of activated carbon made from coconut shell (valued at ₹1,184 crore) in 2019-20. The export of activated carbon from the country was at 97,050 tonnes (valued at ₹1,344 crore) during 2018-19.

US is the major importer of coconut shell-based activated carbon from India, followed by Japan and the United Kingdom. Nearly 95 per cent of Indian production is exported to different destinations, she said.

Speaking to BusinessLine over phone, she said there is good scope for setting up a few more activated carbon units in the country in view of the ever-increasing worldwide demand for activated carbon.

There are already around 30 such units in the country. Since India being the highest producer of coconut in the world, there will not be any dearth of raw material in the country.

(Activated carbon is a carbonaceous, extremely porous adsorptive medium with a complex structure composed primarily of carbon atoms. Raw materials such as coconut shell, wood and coal are used in the manufacture of activated carbon.)

Coconut shell-based activated carbon is considered superior to other sources of activated carbon mainly because of small macro pores structure which renders it more effective for adsorption of gas/vapour and for the removal of colour and odour of compounds, she said.


More than 35 per cent of activated carbon produced globally is used for water and waste-water treatment, and around 30 per cent in the air and gas treatment application.

Nair said the rise in need of water filtration process and increase in demand for activated carbon in the air purification process are expected to drive the activated carbon market. Governments across the globe are spreading awareness about health risks associated with drinking impure water.

The Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka were the major producers of coconut shell-based activated carbon in the past. India has established itself in the world market as a supplier of high quality coconut shell-based activated carbon, she said, adding the export of activated carbon from India has been steadily increasing since 2009-10.

Published on September 14, 2020

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