A catalyst is a substance that accelerates a chemical reaction and retains its original composition. A recent study by Hexa Research notes that the worldwide demand for the catalyst market in 2013 was about 6,250 kilo tons. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.1% from 2014 to 2020. By 2020, the volumes will exceed 7,750 kilo tons.
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Petroleum refining is rising due to energy demand. This coupled with increasing focus on green technologies is generating high demand for catalysts. Environmental regulations in different parts of the world lay emphasis on emission control. This has altered several manufacturing processes across industries. Catalysts help in making processes efficient and are therefore witnessing high demand.
Since catalysts are widely used in chemical synthesis, any growth in the chemical manufacturing sector translates into corresponding growth for the catalyst market. Precious metals are widely used as catalysts. Volatility in their pricing adversely affects the market. Depleting crude oil reserves will result in a drop in the number of petroleum refineries. This will again have a negative market impact.
Hexa Research also divides the market on the basis of materials, products, applications, and regions. The materials segment encompasses metals, zeolites, chemical compounds, and others. Chemical compounds dominated the catalyst market in 2013. They contributed more than 40% to the total volumes and are cheaper than zeolites and metals.
Chemical compounds are projected to grow the fastest, at a CAGR of 3.3% from 2014 to 2020. The market is segmented in view of products into homogeneous, and heterogeneous. Heterogeneous catalysts possess augmented significance in view of their use in various industry verticals. Homogeneous catalysts are estimated to grow further.
Catalysts find applications in refinery, chemical, polymer, stationery, automotive, and environmental sectors. Chemical, with a contribution of 1,790 kilo tons in volumes, was the leading application in 2013. This may be attributed to growth in chemical manufacturing, particularly in Latin America and Asia Pacific. With respect to regions, the Asian Pacific catalyst market accounted for the highest demand, i.e. more than 33% in 2013.
Europe will generate moderate demand for environmental catalysts in the years ahead. North America will be driven by petroleum refining. The dominating market participants are Evonik Industries AG, Clariant International Ltd., Albemarle Corporation, INEOS Group Ltd., and Zeolyst International Inc.