Global sales of Hydrofluoric Acid is estimated to be valued at $4,313.2 million by the end of 2018, witnessing a Y-o-Y growth of 2.6 percent over the year 2017. China is estimated to account for a value share of ~47 percent in the global Hydrofluoric Acid market by 2018 end and it is anticipated to show significant demand for Hydrofluoric Acid from the fluorochemicals manufacturing industry
Hydrofluoric acid is also referred to as hydrogen fluoride (HF). It is a weak acid and also a highly toxic and corrosive substance. It is manufactured majorly by two processes: Fluorspar and Fluorosilicic acid. More than 90 percent of the hydrogen fluoride is produced using fluorspar whereas fluorosilicic acid based HF accounts for a relatively smaller share (~5-8 percent)
Hydrofluoric acid is majorly used as an intermediate or starting material for the manufacturing of a number of a fluorochemicals used as refrigerants and air conditioning agents. It can be used in the anhydrous form – anhydrous hydrofluoric acid (AHF) – or in the dilute form – aqueous hydrofluoric acid. The dilution ratio can vary as per the requirements. Two most popularly used aqueous grades – 40-50 percent and 70-80 percent – are used across a number of applications
Hydrofluoric Acid is used as an intermediate or starting material for the production of a number of fluorochemicals. It is widely used raw material and fluorine source for the manufacture of fluorocarbons such as HCFC’s, HFC’s and HFO’s which are being used in the air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. However, the use of such chemicals has been stringently regulated by government and environmental protection organizations such as U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) due to the high global warming potential and ozone depletion caused due to the use of such chemicals thus may hamper the market growth. Fluoropolymers such as PTFE is increasingly being manufactured through hydrofluoric acid thus its growing use in the cable wire, cookware and other applications is projected to create traction in the long run Another major application of hydrofluoric acid is in the manufacture of aluminum fluoride which is predominantly used as a raw material for the manufacture of aluminum. There has been increase in use of aluminum over the past few years across major end use industries such as automotive, packaging and other applications. Therefore, the rise in demand will lead to the growth of hydrofluoric acid.
However, the global hydrofluoric acid market is projected to face numerous challenges such as: the raw material majorly used for hydrofluoric acid production is fluorspar which is being unevenly distributed with more than 50 percent of the reserves in China. In order to benefit the local manufacturers, China has restricted the supply of fluorspar to other regions thus creating significant impact on the profitability and margins of manufacturers.
- On the basis of grade, the anhydrous grade is projected to retain its dominance throughout the forecast period holding a share of ~65 percent by the end 2018;
- On the basis of application, the use of Hydrofluoric Acid as starting material or intermediate for the manufacture of fluorochemicals or fluorocarbons is projected to hold major share throughout the forecast period. The rise in demand of such chemicals from the refrigeration and air conditioning systems is projected to fuel the market growth;
- There are a number of other application areas for hydrofluoric acid including steel pickling and metal treatment to remove layer and stains from the surface and provide shine and finish to the surface of material. Other industries such as glass etching, uranium fuel production, petroleum catalyst, pharmaceuticals, herbicides and other niche applications are also projected to drive the demand for hydrofluoric acid over the coming decade.
From a regional perspective, China is projected to lead the global market both in terms of production and consumption of hydrofluoric acid. The country has an added advantage of ease of raw material procurement and hence the manufacturers are able to offer the products at relatively cheaper prices. The growth of end use industries and the increase in demand for fluorochemicals from the refrigeration and air conditioning systems is projected to create significant opportunities in the market. India is also projected to expand at relatively higher growth rate over the forecast period. Western Europe is considered as a relatively mature market with sluggish growth owing to the stringent regulations for the use of fluorochemicals. North America imports major raw material, fluorspar from Mexico is expected to witness moderate growth rate. Latin America and MEA are projected to hold significant share in terms of production, however, the consumption of hydrofluoric acid is projected to exhibit low volume and high growth.