Zeolites is the group of three-dimensional hydrated microporous aluminosilicate minerals that are primarily used in water filters and as water softeners. These minerals have relatively porous structure. This makes them suitable for usage in detergents, petrochemical, nuclear, refrigeration, concrete, and various other end-user industries. Zeolites are typically available in natural and synthetic forms; however, synthetic zeolites are used on a much higher scale than naturally occurring zeolites. Structure of zeolites mainly encompasses silicon-oxygen-aluminum linkages, which form pores of identicalsize on upper crest of the mineral. Zeolites have regular internal cavities and interconnected channels of distinct sizes and shapes. The varied internal structure of zeolites is attributed to diverse crystal structure and chemical composition.The application of zeolites in detergents and petroleum industries is expected to act as a major driver for the zeolite market during the forecast period. In terms of region, Asia Pacific and Europe are anticipated to be the major markets for zeolites in the next eight years. Increasing demand for zeolites from end-user industries in Asia Pacific and Europe is likely to boost the market for zeolites during the forecast period.
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Zeolites are primarily available in two forms: natural and synthetic. Natural zeolites are used in both industrial and other applications. These are typically used as adsorbent materials. Natural zeolite structure has more acid resistant silica to hold the structure together compared to the synthetic class of zeolites. This makes natural zeolites more apt for usage in the agriculture industry as feed additives.Union Carbide commercializedsynthetic zeolitesas a novel class of industrial materials that could be used for purification and separation in 1954. The most basicapplications were the drying of natural gas and refrigerant gas. However, the range of conventional applications increased with theintroduction of new synthetic zeolites. Synthetic zeolites may be classified into three groups based on the aluminum and silicon ratio in the zeolites framework. Accordingly, low silica zeolites contain the silicon/aluminum ratio =1, intermediate silica zeolites contain silicon/aluminum ratio between 2 and 5 and high silica zeolites contain silicon/aluminum ratio more than 10. The ratio variance makes these zeolites suitable for specific purposes. Zeolites in natural and synthetic formsare majorly used in the detergent industry for their exquisite ion exchange property. Thus, growth of the detergent industry is anticipated to be the foremost driver for the zeolites market. However, the market is estimated to lose its share in developed regions to developing regions in the next few yearsdue to the introduction of liquid detergents and zeolite-free detergents. Furthermore, its application as catalysts is projected to be the next major application of zeolites. This is likely to boost the demand for zeolites in various end-user industries.
In terms of volume, Asia Pacific is expected to be the major market for zeolitesduring the forecast period, primarily due tothe sizeable andcontinuedgrowth in detergent and water treatment industries. Considering the tremendous growth inthe water treatment industry, emerging economies such as India, Thailand, Malaysia, and Brazil are anticipated to be the biggest markets for zeolites in the next few years.Demand for natural and synthetic zeolites in other end-user industries such as petrochemical, medical, and agriculture is estimated to remain moderatein developed countries such as the U.S., Mexico, Canada and countries in Europeowing to the modest growth of end-user industries using zeolites. In a nutshell, developing nations are estimated to be the key markets for zeolites during the forecast period.
Some of the key players operating in the zeolites market include Lenntech BV, Albemarle Corporation, W.R. Grace & Co-Conn, Bear River Zeolite, GruppoApostolicoTanagro, Anten Chemical Co., Ltd., IDA-ORE, Mining LLC., Gordes Zeolite, Clariant, Silkem proizvodnja Zeolitov d.o.o., NanoScape AG, Teague Mineral Products, Zeocem Ltd., Zeolyst International.