The global zeolites market size is estimated to be USD 12.1 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 14.1 billion by 2026, at a CAGR of 3.1% between 2021 and 2026, owing to an increase in demand of zeolites in detergent industry. The construction & building materials segment is the biggest application for natural zeolites. The rising demand for lightweight concrete material in the construction industry is expected to drive the use of natural zeolites.
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Based on type, the zeolites market is segmented into natural and synthetic zeolites. Natural zeolites was the largest segment in the overall zeolites market in 2020, in terms of value and volume. This is majorly due to the growing demand for natural zeolites in various applications such as construction & building materials, soil remediation, animal feed and wastewater treatment among others.
Based on function, catalyst segment is estimated to account for the largest share of the overall zeolites market, in terms of value, in 2020. Increasing demand for zeolites as catalysts in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) applications in oil & gas and petroleum industry is driving the growth of this segment. Zeolites are the most important inorganic material used in the production of oil & gas in the petrochemical and oil refining industries. They are routinely used as catalysts in fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) and hydrocarbon cracking (HC) applications. Zeolite catalysts have the advantage of removing hydrogen from alkanes at the acidic sites or reaction sites.
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Based on applications, the zeolites market is segmented as detergents, catalysts, absorbent/desiccant, and others (emission control, medical oxygen) for synthetic zeolites. Detergents segment is estimated to dominate the synthetic zeolites market. The high demand for synthetic zeolite in detergents is due to the stringent regulations on detergent ingredients imposed by governments of various countries. For instance, in Europe, the use of sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) is restricted in detergents, thus propelling the demand for zeolites as its substitute in detergents. Further, the construction & building materials segment is expected to be the largest application of the natural zeolites, by volume. Natural zeolites improve the strength and stability of concrete and cement. Owing to these advantages, there is a high demand for natural zeolites from the construction & building materials sector.
The key market players include Albemarle Corporation (US), BASF SE (Germany), Honeywell International Inc. (US), Clariant (Switzerland), W.R. Grace & Co. (US), TOSOH Corporation (Japan), Union Showa KK, (Japan), Zeochem AG (Switzerland), KNT Group (Russia), Arkema (France), Zeolyst International (US), Huiying Chemical Industry(Xiamen) Co., Ltd. (China), Chemiewerk Bad Köstritz GmbH (Germany), NALCO India (India), and PQ (US). These players have adopted product launches, agreements, expansions, collaborations, acquisitions, divestments, and partnerships as their growth strategies.
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BASF SE is among the leading manufacturers in the zeolites market. The company is one of the major German manufacturers and marketers of chemicals in the world. In July 2020, BASF SE launched Altrium, a Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) catalyst with Advanced Innovative Matrix (AIM) and IZY (Improved Zeolite-Y) technology. Atrium helps to increase transportation fuels yield (gasoline and distillate). This development strengthens the position of the company in the zeolites market.
Another important player in the zeolites market is Albemarle. In June 2018, Albemarle Corporation signed an agreement with Sinopec Catalyst Co. Ltd. (SCC), one of the manufacturers of oil refining and chemical catalysts; and Sinopec Fushun Research Institute of Petroleum and Petrochemicals (FRIPP), a research institute under SINOPEC. The agreement is related to catalytic hydrocracking for the global refining industry. The development enhanced the catalysts business unit of Albemarle and strengthened its position in the zeolites market.
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