Sulphuric acid Prices, markets & analysis
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Sulphuric acid: Market overview
Globally, more than 200m tonnes of sulphuric acid are consumed on an annual basis. Most is produced through sulphur burning for captive use, mainly for the phosphate fertilizer and base metals sectors. Sulphuric acid is also required in a wide variety of specialty and industrial products, such as caprolactam (capro), pulp, paper and batteries.
A proportion of global sulphuric acid is also produced as an involuntary byproduct through the smelting of base metals copper, nickel and zinc. Smelters are prevalent in Europe, South Korea and Japan.
As with sulphur, the demand for sulphuric acid correlates strongly with global development. The need for new infrastructure and food for a growing population directly affects the industry, because sulphuric acid is required to produce specific fertilizers for food crops, as well as for base metals used in construction.
Sulphuric acid is an important raw material for a wide variety of sectors, and the outlook for supply and demand conditions is stable.
Updated to mid-August 2013
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About Sulphuric acid
A key use of sulphuric acid is for the production of fertilizers. Other uses include the production of carbon disulphide, sulphur dioxide and phosphorous pentasulphide; pulp and paper; and rubber vulcanising. Sulphric acid can also be used in its diluted form as battery acid for the automotive sector.
Sulphuric acid is colourless in appearance and of an oily liquid consistency. It is both corrosive and toxic and has the ability to cause serious burns. In addition, it is harmful through inhalation, ingestion and through skin contact.