The market for molecular sieve is expected to grow at a CAGR of over 4% during the forecast period. The major factors driving the growth of the market studied include increasing demand for processing from the oil and gas industry and rising awareness for the treatment of hazardous organic materials in the wastewater.
- On the flipside, the threat from chemical composites, enzymes, and other substitutes and impact of COVID-19 pandemic are expected to hinder the growth of the market.
- The development of anti-microbial zeolite molecular sieves is likely to act as an opportunity in the future.
- Asia-Pacific dominated the market across the globe with the largest consumption from countries such as China and India.
Key Market Trends
Pellets to Dominate the Market
- Pellets are inert, micro absorbent molecular sieves, which contain small holes of uniform size, in order to block larger molecules, while allowing certain smaller molecules to pass.
- The use of pelleted forms of molecular sieves depends on the application. The main type of molecular sieve pellets include spherical granules (ball), cylindrical granules (extrudate), and complex pellets forms. The extrudate - tri-lobe and the extrudate - quadri-lobe (quatrefoil) are the two types of complex pellet form. Consumers decide the shape of pellets, based on their process, equipment, and lost wastage of molecular sieve.
- The features of spherical granules (the ball) include:
- Easy loading and unloading from the adsorber.
- Excessive bed mobility and as a result high attrition of pellets.
- High specific pressure of pellets to each other at contact points.
- The extrudates (cylinder, tri-lobe, quadri-lobe) provides:
- Minimum mobility of the adsorbed bed.
- Ability to use the technology of uniform load.
- Pellets minimal pressure on each other in contact along the generatrix.
- Moreover, the tri-lobe and quadri-lobe pellet-types in particular are responsible for:
- Greater availability of internal volume, high saturation limit of pellets.
- Diffusion of hydrocarbons through the adsorbent bed takes place easier, the pressure does not increase.
- Dynamic capacity for removing component (H2O, H2S, etc.) is higher for 15% than other types of granules.
- Usually, commercial molecular sieve pellets consist of small zeolite crystals formed into a macroporouspellet, with the aid of an inert clay binder. These features are driving the pelleted molecular sieves market size across the globe during the forecast timeline.
China to Dominate the Asia-Pacific Market
- In Asia-Pacific, China is the largest economy, in terms of GDP. The country witnessed about 6.1% growth in its GDP during 2019, even after the trade disturbance caused due to its trade war with the United States. The IMF projected a growth of 5.8% for 2020. In terms of GDP (PPP), China is the largest economy, with a GDP (PPP) of USD 25.27 trillion. China is one of the fastest emerging economies and is one of the biggest production houses in the world today. The country’s manufacturing sector is one of the major contributors to its economy. The Government of China expects the share of gas in total energy consumption to reach up to 10%, by the end of 2020.
- China's refinery capacity is about ~14,177 thousand barrels per day, which constitutes ~14.6% of the world’s refining capacity.
- With 30% of the world’s supply of plastics, China continues to maintain its leading position. The plastics industry in China witnessed increased production outputs over the years, due to the growing demand for engineering plastics in high-end industries, like automotive assembly and electronic manufacturing. There are over ~15,000 plastic manufacturing companies in the country.
- The demand for propylene in China is dominated by the production of polypropylene, propylene oxide, cumene, acrylonitrile, and acrylic acid. However, due to the imminent supply amid the shutdown of propylene plants, the prices of propylene have been increasing.
- Wastewater treatment is required for the effluents produced in various industries, such as chemicals, food and beverages, and pulp and paper, which require freshwater for day-to-day activities. China is a hub for chemical processing, accounting for most chemicals produced, globally.
- Increasing water requirement from the industrial sector and changing government regulations for the prevention of water pollution and control action plan have increased the demand for moving bed bioreactors in recent years. Moreover, according to government statistics, water shortage in China’s coastal areas is expected to reach 21.4 billion m3 by 2030. The growing global demand for various water treatment technologies is expected to drive the demand for molecular sieves during the forecast period.
- Moreover, the Chinese automotive manufacturing industry is the largest in the world. Though the industry witnessed a slowdown in 2018, wherein the production and sales declined. Similar trend continued, with the production witnessing a 7.5% decline in 2019. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), automotive production is expected to decline by about 2% in the end of 2020.
- However, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in the domestic market. The COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the manufacturing sector in the country, which, in turn, may impact the market during the forecast period.
- Therefore, the abovementioned factors are expected to aid the demand for molecular sieves in China in the coming years
The global molecular sieves market is fragmented in nature with the presence of many players accounting for a less share in the market. The major companies include Honeywell International Inc. (Universal Oil Products LLC), Arkema (CECA), Zeochem AG, W. R. Grace & Co.-Conn., and Tosoh Corporation, among others.
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