24 June 1996 00:00 [Source: ICB]
Demand for zeolite catalysts in the US will outpace the general growth of the zeolite market, says a recent report from the industry analysts Freedonia Group.
The report predicts that the total US market for zeolites will expand 2.7%/year to 499 000 tonne by 2000. This is a much slower growth rate than the double-figure increases enjoyed in the early 1990s. Catalyst applications will increase by 3.7%/year to 380 000 tonne, a market worth $225m.
The market for fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) catalysts is saturated, Freedonia says, and growth will come almost entirely from new petroleum and petrochemicals uses, where zeolites have environmental advantages over acid and heavy metal catalysts.
Producers of zeolites for catalyst applications include Davison (Grace), Akzo Nobel, Engelhard, the AlliedSignal/Union Carbide jv UOP, NPQ, Crosfield and Mobil. The most important producers are Davison, Akzo Nobel and Engelhard.
Zeolites used as 'builders' in consumer laundry detergents showed huge growth in the early 1990s because of phosphate bans and the development of compact detergents. This market is now becoming saturated and Freedonia predicts the best future prospects will be found among smaller producers of industrial and institutional detergents, who may adopt zeolites for environmental or public relations reasons.
Other zeolite applications such as agricultural and environmental uses will expand most rapidly, by 4.1%/year to 70 000 tonne by 2000. Most are used for their ability to absorb ammonia ions, in applications such as cat-litter.
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