In the current turbulent environment, the market for zeolites demonstrates varied dynamics. For instance, Tosoh Corp. reports about the decline in the demand for zeolites in several sectors. The decline primarily relates to high-silica zeolites in such application areas as automobile exhaust gas catalysts and some other industrial applications. This is sharply in contrast with the situation a year earlier when the sales of such products grew. The general economic slowdown caused by the global pandemic undermines Tosoh’s zeolite strategy for 2020 aimed at high-performance automotive applications, as well as petrochemical and environmental businesses.
Another major zeolite manufacturer Albemarle shows a similar picture. The company manufactures zeolite-based catalysts for fluid catalytic cracking applications. The company’s sales within the catalysts sector in Q1 2020 declined by 17% as compared to the same period a year earlier. This was primarily caused by the decrease in the transportation fuel consumption due to the imposed lockdown measures and travel restrictions.
St. Cloud Zeolite, the largest zeolite manufacturer in the US, (its Winston plant has an impressive 50k mty zeolite production capacity), might be doing better as the primary market for its zeolites is the animal feed used in agriculture, which fares pretty well. In agriculture, the novel and prospective application area for natural zeolites is for improving the anaerobic process performances, including in the treatment of wastewaters with high concentrations of nitrogen compounds. Apart from reducing waste storage, anaerobic digestion, the process of fermenting organic materials without oxygen, is known to generate two valuable products: methane-rich biogas and a digestate, which is a nutrient-rich fertiliser.
The revival of the economy after the lockdown is also inevitable. Blue Pacific Minerals Limited, a key zeolite manufacturer in New Zealand is currently preparing its production facility for the renewal of its operation. As of 8 June 2020, New Zealand lifts all containment measures except for border curbs as this country fully stopped the coronavirus transmission. Blue Pacific Minerals showed a very responsible approach during the pandemic by strictly observing the governmental lockdown guidelines thus demonstrating discipline, adherence to ethical principles, and care for the health of its personnel. Since the company holds a vital status in the regional economy, it is clear that its operational start is a long-anticipated event.
More information on the global zeolites market can be found in the in-demand research study “Natural Zeolites: 2020 World Market Review and Forecast to 2029”.