Market estimates for this study are based on volumes, with revenues derived through regional pricing trends. The price for commonly utilized grades of synthetic zeolite for each application has been considered, and customized product pricing has not been included.
Albany, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/03/2016 -- Zeolite is a group of natural and synthetic hydrated aluminosilicate minerals that contains alkaline and alkali metals. The zeolite molecular structure has a framework that consists of enclosed interconnected cavities. These cavities are occupied by water molecules and metal cations that are ion exchangeable. Zeolite is available in both natural as well as synthetic forms. Natural zeolites are available in abundance; however, these offer a limited range of atomic structures and properties. On the other hand, synthetic zeolites offer larger cavities, and hence, a wide range of properties than that of their natural counterparts. Thus, more than 100 zeolites are manufactured annually across the globe for a wide range of applications. Synthetic zeolites are manufactured using the technique of slow crystallization of silica alumina gel in the presence of organic templates and alkalis. Sol gel processing is an important step involved in the manufacture of synthetic zeolites. Ease of scaling-up the sol gel manufacturing process makes it the most efficient and suitable route for zeolite synthesis. Zeolite is used in a wide range of industrial and domestic applications. It is used in petrochemical, nuclear and biogas manufacturing and processing industries. Most synthetic zeolites are used in the detergents industry. Adsorbents and catalysts are the other primary applications of synthetic zeolites.
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With over 65% share in total volume consumption, detergents was the largest outlet for synthetic zeolites in 2013. The synthetic zeolite market is driven by the demand from the detergents market, primarily owing to government regulations against the usage of phosphorus as detergent builders. Synthetic zeolites with attractive physic-chemical properties cashed in on the regulations against the widely used phosphorus compounds in detergents. Phosphorous, which is one of the key plant growth promoters, found its way into the lakes and rivers through drained laundry water. This resulted in the growth of aquatic algae and other aquatic plants, especially phytoplanktons. Excessive amount of phosphorous in water causes epidemic growth of aquatic plants, which is ecologically unsustainable and ultimately results in water pollution and contamination. Since drinking water is mostly sourced from these natural water bodies, phosphate pollution acts as a serious threat to water quality. Excessive growth of aquatic plants also reduces oxygen levels in water bodies, thereby impairing aquatic life. Rising demand for petroleum products has also acted in favor of synthetic zeolites, as substantial demand is generated from fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) process in petrochemical refineries. Petrochemical refineries also account for a considerable demand for zeolitic molecular sieves for adsorption.
Asia Pacific accounted for over 40% share of the volume demand in 2013 and was the largest market for synthetic zeolites in the world, followed by Europe and North America. However, the growth of the application segments in each of the regions has varied over the past few years. The growth rate of detergents application has dipped in North America and Europe, while it is expected to be the fastest growing segment in Asia Pacific in the coming years. Adsorbents were estimated to be the fastest growing application segment in Europe and North America, followed closely by the catalysts application.
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The global synthetic zeolite market is highly fragmented with many regional companies competing for a larger market share. Most established chemical manufacturing companies are involved in the production of superior grade synthetic zeolite for adsorbents and catalysts applications. Major companies dominating the market include Honeywell International, Inc., Clariant AG, BASF SE, Albemarle Corporation, Huiying Chemical Industry (Quanzhou) Co., Ltd and W.R. Grace & Company. Apart from these companies, there are various small- and medium-scale manufacturing companies in Asia Pacific, especially in China.
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