Sulfuric acid is a highly corrosive colorless mineral acid with the chemical formula H2SO4. It has a melting point of 10.36°C and a boiling point of 340°C. Sulfuric acid is soluble in water at all concentrations. Sulfuric acid has a great bulk of applications. It is used in the production of numerous goods including various cleaning agents, domestic acidic drain cleaners and electrolytes in lead-acid batteries. The major uses of sulfuric acid are fertilizers’ production, wastewater treatment, petroleum refining, and chemical synthesis.
In 2012, the world sulfuric acid capacity was estimated at more than 290.7 million tonnes. In the same year, Asia accounted for over 46% of the total capacity.
Sulfuric acid: structure of the world capacity by region, 2012
Mosaic Co, OCP Group, PotashCorp, Vale Limited, Groupe Chimique Tunisien, Codelco, Maaden, Rhodia Inc, Xstrata, Aurubis, OJSC «Ammofos», Oswal Greentech Limited and CF Industries, among others, take the lead in the global sulfuric acid universe.
The worldwide market for sulfuric acid witnessed stable growth between 2009-2012, supported by increasing demand from major end-use industries. In 2012, sulfuric acid production grew by more than 7 million tonnes and exceeded 230.7 million tonnes. Asia ranks as the leading sulfuric acid manufacturer, accounting for around 45% of the overall production. China, the US, India, Russia and Morocco are the top five sulfuric acid manufacturing countries.
Sulfuric acid: structure of the world production by country, 2012
APAC is the major sulfuric acid consumer. In 2012, its consumption volume surpassed the 106 million mark. The fertilizer industry is the product’s major end-use sector, consuming over 55% of the overall sulfuric acid output.
In 2011, the world foreign trade in sulfuric acid was valued at more than USD 1.87 billion. Europe is the leading sulfuric acid exporter, whilst Asia is a market leader in terms of imports.
The worldwide sulfuric acid production is poised to increase in the forthcoming years to go beyond 257.6 million by end-2015.
More information on the sulfuric acid market can be found in the report Sulfuric Acid: 2013 World Market Outlook and Forecast up to 2017.