Growing agricultural activities is increasing the demand for agricultural chemistry, which is influencing the market growth. Sulphuric acid Market size is forecast to reach $24.0 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 4.4% during the forecast period 2021-2026.

Sulphuric acid is largely employed in the fertilizer industry to make phosphoric acid, which is then used to make phosphate and ammonium phosphates fertilizers. It is also used to make ammonium sulphate, which is a particularly important fertilizer in sulfur-deficient. To improve the crop yield within the same area of arable lands and provide crops proper nutrients, fertilizers are being extensively utilized during crop production. Thus, fertilizers play an important role in providing crops with the nutrients they need to grow and enhance crop yield, owing to which there is an increasing demand for fertilizers in various regions.

Globally, crop production and yield are significantly increasing owing to the various government initiatives. For instance, in October 2019, the French government attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs launched France’s new international strategy for food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture. The Indian government plans to triple the capacity of the food processing sector in India from the current 10% of agriculture produce and has also committed Rs. 6,000 crore (US$ 936.38 billion) as investments for mega food parks in the country, as a part of the Scheme for Agro-Marine Processing and Development of Agro-Processing Clusters (SAMPADA). In November 2020, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, announced that the Food Cooperation of India and state agencies are set to procure a record quantity of 742 LMT (lakh metric tonnes) paddy during the ongoing Kharif crop season as against 627 LMT paddy last year. With the increasing crop production, the demand for fertilizers is also eventually increasing, which is driving the demand for sulphuric acid to manufacture fertilizers.

Globally, all the sectors have been significantly impacted by the spread of COVID-19 and the steps introduced to restrict infection. The normal organization of work and labor flow was also disrupted by lockdown and border closure measures, creating risks of seasonal worker shortages for the spring harvest. The fertilizer market while reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been affected as the production rates of fertilizers have decreased, causing a major effect not only on the availability of phosphate fertilizers but also on the demand for raw materials such as sulphur and sulphuric acid. There’s also been a supply chain disruption in the global and local enterprises which are dealing with the manufacturing of fertilizers i.e. these sectors are experiencing difficulties like untimely deliveries of raw materials such as sulphuric acid. All these factors accumulatively affected the sulphuric acid market growth during the covid-19 pandemic.

Asia-Pacific holds a major share of the sulphuric acid market owing to the presence of countries like China, Singapore, and India. Due to the superfluous population density in APAC, the agricultural sector is making strides in the region to fulfill the catapulting demand for food. Subsequently, sulphuric acid which finds application in the agricultural sector is observing an augmented demand. Additionally, there is a gamut of manufacturing industries in APAC, and sulphuric acid is an important chemical used in the manufacturing process of steel. According to the World Steel Organization, South Korea ranked 6th in crude steel production in the year 2019, with the production of 71.4 million tonnes of crude steel. Thus, with the rising production of steel, it is estimated that the demand for sulphuric acid in the pickling process will increase. Furthermore, the fertilizer industry is also growing in the region. For instance, According to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers (Department of Fertilizers), in the year 2018-2019, the actual demand and production of P&K Fertilizers were found to be 23.2 million MT (232.88 lakh MT) and 17.4 million MT (174.85 lakh MT) respectively. The demand and production for P&K Fertilizers increased by 0.2 million MT (2.02 lakh MT) and 0.1 million MT (1.47 lakh MT) respectively from the year 2017-2018. Owing to the fact that APAC is witnessing massive growth in the fertilizer and manufacturing sector, which is a sulphuric acid marketplace, the region bore a majority share.

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Sulphuric Acid Market Growth Drivers

Growing Demand for Fertiliser to Increase Crop Yields and Produce Nutrient-Rich Crops : 

As the rise of farmers' yield and the supply of fertile land for agricultural practices decreases due to increasing urban development, the market for fertilizers is expected to rise rapidly. Now an important part of agriculture, fertilizers provide the soil with nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, and globally they are responsible for half of the crop production. The development of fertilizer, particularly to volume up the concentration of phosphate, will boost the demand for sulfuric acid. Sulphuric acid is the main raw material used in commercial phosphate fertilizer manufacturing, and the growing demand for phosphate to increase the crop yield will lead to the growing demand for sulphuric acid. A U.S. crop production survey projected that without nitrogen (N) fertilizer, one of the major crops of the U.S, i.e. corn yields would fall by an average of 40 percent. If other macronutrients, phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) were also reduced, even greater declines would occur. The contribution of fertilizer to maintaining crop yields has also been shown in various long-term studies. Long-term experiments in Oklahoma, for example, indicate a decrease in the wheat yield of 40 percent without standard N and P additions. A long-term analysis in Missouri showed that fertilizer and lime additions were responsible for 57 percent of the grain yield. In terms of increase the yield for crop production, U.S agriculture is taking further steps to increase the consumption of fertilizers, which have also become an important factor in terms of the rise in sulphuric acid consumption, and thus will increase the growth of the market. Also, Wheat is the most widely grown cereal crop in the world. It is cultivated on almost 215 million ha out of 670 million ha under cereals. The wheat grain contains 70 percent starch and 12–18 percent protein. The highest grain yields are obtained with winter wheat. These range from 1 tone/ha to more than 12 tonnes/ha, with a world average of about 3 tonnes/ha. High yields (up to 14 tonnes/ha) can be obtained from highly productive varieties with appropriate nutrient and crop protection management on fertile soils with adequate water supply. The increasing wheat production across the globe needs better yield and with same nutrients to meet the overall demand, this factor leads to an increase in the consumption of fertilizer in a high manner and thus leads to an increase in the demand for sulphuric acid. Overall, the rising consumption of fertilizer to increase the food crop yield, and also to meet the current demand for nutrient-rich food, leads to an increase in the demand for sulphuric acid globally, which tends to increase the growth of the market.

R&D Investment:

Research and Development departments are continually improving existing product performance, optimizing manufacturing efficiencies to decrease the emission. For instance, in November 2020, DuPont Clean Technologies introduced two new sulfuric acid catalysts: MECS Super GEAR and MECS XLP-310 which build upon its GEAR and XLP catalyst product lines. While both products will reportedly benefit new or existing plants, Super GEAR was specifically developed to minimize total installed cost and achieve “world-class emissions levels” in new plants, and XLP-310 was developed to provide existing plants with an economical option to reduce emissions and boost capacity.

Major Market Players:

The major companies in the sulphuric acid market include Chemtrade Logistics Inc., The Mosaic Company, Aurubis AG, Jubiliant Industries, Kiri Industries Ltd., Aarti Industries Ltd., Bestgrand Chemical Group, Ineos Sulphur Chemicals, Trident Group, Dharamsi Morarji Chemical Co. Ltd., Adisseo France S.A.S, Korea Zinc Co. Ltd., Hindustan Zinc Ltd., and Boliden Group. The key focus of the companies has shifted towards partnership. In March 2020, Mosaic has a partnership with Fertiliser Technology Research Centre (FTRC) to focus on enhanced fertilizer efficiency and reducing environmental impact. This partnership focus on improving the performance of crop nutrients while minimizing their impact on the environment.

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