Sulfuric acid historically called oil of vitriol is a toxic, highly corrosive, slight yellowish-colored liquid that is used in the manufacturing of a wide variety of chemicals. It is a strong mineral acid that is diprotic according to its chemical formula and shows different properties depending upon its concentration. It has hygroscopic properties and reacts violently with water. Due to its highly reactive nature and strong dehydrating quality, it is used extensively in many chemical reactions as a catalyst, intermediate and raw material. It is a polar compound and conductive in nature so it is used as an electrolyte in lead-acid batteries. It is also used in industrial cleaning in the chemical industries.
Its prime uses include metal ore leaching, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining, wastewater processing, and chemical synthesis. It is produced via different methods such as contact process, wet sulfuric acid process, lead chamber process and some others. The global sulfuric acid market in this report has broadly been segmented on the basis of applications such as fertilizers, metal processing, pulp & paper, textile industry, automotive, and chemical manufacturing, including its use as industrial cleaning agent, in drugs and medicines and in electronic industries. Fertilizer is the largest application of sulfuric acid. An increase in agricultural activities leads to the increasing use of fertilizers which consumes sulfuric acid on large scale in its production.
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The sulfuric acid market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.87% during the forecast period 2016 to 2021, in terms of value to reach USD 11.10 billion by 2021.The Asia-Pacific region is projected to be the fastest in terms of value and volume, during the forecast period. India is the fastest growing in the Asia-Pacific sulfuric acid market, accounting for a moderate share of the demand for sulfuric acid in the region. It is projected to be a potential market in the global sulfuric acid market owing to the extensive use of sulfuric acid in variety of applications such as textile, fertilizer, automotive and chemical manufacturing.
Elemental sulfur is the fastest-growing market of sulfuric acid by raw materials. The demand for elemental sulfur is driven due to the fact that production of sulfuric acid from sulfur contributes less towards environmental degradation in comparison to base metal smelters and pyrite ore roasting. Around 90% of sulfur which is obtained as a by-product from crude oil refineries is used in the production of sulfuric acid. Its abundance in the market will also prefer its use in the manufacturing of sulfuric acid over other raw materials like pyrite ores and base metal smelters.
Fertilizer is the largest application segment in the global sulfuric acid market. More than 55% of sulfuric acid produced in the world goes into manufacturing of fertilizers. Sulfuric acid reacts with phosphate rocks to give phosphoric acid which is used extensively in procurement of phosphate fertilizers. Phosphate fertilizers release phosphate in the soil which is an important nutrient vital for healthy crop growth.
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The major players in the global sulfuric acid market undertook various development strategies during the past five years. New product launches/developments, expansion and mergers & acquisitions are some of the key strategies undertaken by major manufacturers such as The Mosaic Company (U.S.), PotashCorp (Canada), Groupe Chimique Tunisien (Tunisia), Maaden - Saudi Arabian Mining Company (Saudi Arabia) and OCP group (Morocco). These strategies have helped to enhance production and increase the market share of the aforementioned key players in the global sulfuric acid market.
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