Liquid Nitrogen Market size is forecast to reach $11.1 billion by 2026, after growing at a CAGR of 6.2% during 2021-2026. Liquid nitrogen is extensively used as the cryogenic fluid in the immersion freezing of foods and is produced using cryogenic distillation. Due to its ability to rapidly cool things and is safe to add it to food constituents, liquid nitrogen is often used to preserve food, biological and medical products. In addition, it is non-toxic and inert to food products and their constituent which is expected to increase the market demand. The Leidenfrost effect associated with liquid nitrogen is a major hindrance for the liquid nitrogen industry. The rapid growth of the chemical & pharmaceutical industry has increased the demand for liquid nitrogen; thereby, fueling the market growth. Furthermore, the flourishing food & beverage industry is also expected to drive the liquid nitrogen market substantially during the forecast period.
The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak is having a huge impact on the automotive and chemical industry. There is a delay in imports and exports of chemical items due to the import-export restriction by the governments in various regions. Automotive manufacturing has been disruptively halted, leading to significant losses in the automobile sector as a whole. According to the European Association of Car Manufacturers, demand for new commercial vehicles across the EU remained low in June 2020 (-20.3%), although the rate of decline slowed compared to April and May. Double-digit percentage decreases were recorded last month by three of the four largest markets in the region: Germany (-30.5 percent), Spain (-24.2 percent), and Italy (-12.8 percent), while France recorded a small increase (+2.2 percent). With the decrease in automotive production, the demand for liquid nitrogen has significantly fallen, which is having a major impact on the liquid nitrogen market.
Liquid Nitrogen Market Segment Analysis – By Function
The coolant segment held the largest share in the liquid nitrogen market in 2020 up to 68%. Liquid nitrogen is a cryogenic liquid, which when in contact with living cells can cause rapid freezing. Owing to this property, liquid nitrogen is widely used as a coolant in rotational molding. Liquid nitrogen is an effective and convenient refrigerant due to its availability, low cost, and inert properties. Many low-temperature processes leverage nitrogen’s cooling and freezing capabilities because of its extremely low boiling temperature (–195.8°C) and high refrigeration capacity at atmospheric pressure. All these extensive characteristics of liquid nitrogen as coolant are the key factor anticipated to boost the demand for liquid nitrogen in various regions during the forecast period.
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Liquid Nitrogen Market Segment Analysis – By Technology
The cryogenic distillation segment held the largest share in the liquid nitrogen market in 2020, as it is the largely used technology to produce liquefied industrial gases due to its low investment cost and lesser utility consumption. Cryogenic air separation is the most cost-effective technology for larger plants and for producing very high purity oxygen and nitrogen using the Joule-Thomson effect. Cryogenic air separation processes are routinely used in large-scale or medium-scale plants to produce nitrogen, oxygen, and argon as gases and/or liquid products. In addition, cryogenic distillation systems provide the highest yield and quality performances of liquid nitrogen. Thus, owing to these factors cryogenic distillation is the most used technology for the production of liquid nitrogen.
Liquid Nitrogen Market Segment Analysis – By Storage
The cryogenic storage tank segment held the largest share in the liquid nitrogen market in 2020. The cryogenic storage tanks/vessels are proposed for the transport and storage of liquid nitrogen, oxygen, and argon at low pressure. These horizontal cryogenic storage tanks and vessels are suitable for contact with LN2 liquefiers and are built to be easily accessible at lower heights. Due to safety and security purposes, liquid nitrogen is preferred to be stored in under-ventilated areasLiquid nitrogen storage and handling is a major challenge, and careful precautions must be taken to prevent hazards and risk factors such as burns, container failure, spillage, personal injury, and container damage. Cryogenic storage tanks are thus primarily used for liquid nitrogen storage. Furthermore, its unique support system ensures strength and durability without sacrificing the thermal efficiency of the tank, which is the major factor driving the demand for a cryogenic storage tank for storage purposes during the forecast period.
Liquid Nitrogen Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
The chemical & pharmaceutical segment held the largest share in the liquid nitrogen market in 2020 and is growing at a CAGR of 5.4% over 2021-2026, owing to increasing usage of liquid nitrogen in the chemical & pharmaceutical industry. Liquid nitrogen is used for cryotherapy to treat malignant skin lesions such as keratosis. It is also used to store cells at low temperatures for lab work, for promession (a way to dispose of the dead), for cryonic preservation, as a coolant, and more. Also, the demand for liquid nitrogen is on an upsurge in the pharmaceutical industry to retain the cold reaction temperature. In addition, there is an increasing demand for liquid nitrogen from the chemical industry to reduce the heat generated while chemical manufacturing. Thus, the increasing application of liquid nitrogen and the expanding chemical & pharmaceutical market is the major factor driving the demand for liquid nitrogen in the chemical & pharmaceutical market during the forecast period.
Liquid Nitrogen Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Europe region held the largest share in the liquid nitrogen market in 2020 up to 33%, owing to the increasing demand for liquid nitrogen from the chemical and pharmaceutical industry in the region. The European chemical industry continues to innovate, according to the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), with an annual investment of EUR 10 billion in R&I in 2018, the highest value since 2000. In 2018, the world turnover of chemicals was estimated at EUR 3,347 billion. The EU chemical industry ranks second in overall revenue with 16.9 percent, with the United States contributing 14 percent. European producers (EU28 + Russia) are two of the top 10, producing sales revenues of EUR 640.5 billion (19.1 percent). According to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, the life sciences industry is one of the most important pillars of the UK economy, contributing over £70 billion a year. The government aims to make the UK a global hub for advanced therapies and building an impressive end-to-end national infrastructure through a £146 million commitment to medicines manufacturing. This includes doubling capacity at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre; 3 new advanced therapies treatment centers; and 2 innovation centers for vaccines and medicines manufacturing. Thus, with the expanding chemical & pharmaceutical industry, the demand for liquid nitrogen will also subsequently increase, which is anticipated to drive the liquid nitrogen market in Europe during the forecast period.
Liquid Nitrogen Market Drivers
Increasing Automotive Production
As a result of widely increasing air pollution throughout the world & vehicle emissions have a major contribution towards the same, it is very essential to engineer or design an alternative to the present traditional gasoline vehicles. Liquid vehicles fueled by nitrogen can act as an excellent alternative. Thus, liquid nitrogen is extensively used in automobiles as a coolant. The Automotive Mission Plan 2016-26 (AMP 2026) initiative is launched by the Indian government to boost the automotive industry in the country. The collective vision of the government on how the automotive sector should grow in terms of size, contribution to national development, technological maturity, global competitiveness, and institutional structure is clearly outlined. According to OICA, the production of passenger cars in Africa was 776,967 in 2018, which then rose to 787,287 in 2019, an increase of 1.3%. Thus, increasing automation production will require more liquid nitrogen, which will act as a driver for the liquid nitrogen market during the forecast period.
Flourishing Food & Beverage Industry
Freezing is the foundation of food preservation and its core technology. The enormous quantity of heat that is absorbed during the gasification process is used by liquid nitrogen spray freezing (NF). The time of a food product within the maximum crystal-forming temperature range during the NF process is short with rapid heat transfer or quick freezing rate, resulting in small and uniformly distributed ice crystals. Because of this, the food product’s original color, scent, and taste are retained to the greatest degree. Preservation often involves cooling the food product or freezing it, which improves its shelf-life. The freezing of bakery products, meat, poultry, fish, prepared meals, vegetables, and fruits are major places where liquid nitrogen is used for the food industry. Russia is the eighth largest market for processed food goods, with a trading volume of 27.5 million tonnes, as well as drinks (alcoholic and soft) with a trading volume of 26 billion liters, according to the International Trade Administration (ITA). According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), in 2018, the total value of all retail food and beverage sales in Japan was $479.29 billion (¥53,339 billion), an overall increase of 2.3 percent. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), China’s food processing industry continued to grow in 2017. Revenue climbed to $1.47 trillion, an increase of 6.3 percent compared with the previous year. The rising disposable income has resulted in the increasing demand for the food and beverage industry in various regions, which is further driving the growth of the liquid nitrogen market. Thus, the expanding food and beverage industry acts as a driver for the liquid nitrogen market.
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Liquid Nitrogen Market Challenges
Drawbacks of Liquid Nitrogen
For a number of items, such as a coolant for machines, medication to eliminate unwanted skin, warts, and pre-cancerous cells, and cryogenics, liquid nitrogen is used, which has a boiling point of -196C. Liquid nitrogen’s advantageous freezing property also has harmful impacts associated with it. The liquid nitrogen vapor could instantly freeze skin tissues and cause cold burns as well. It can cause the expansion of liquid nitrogen in the stomach if a person swallows a bit of it. Liquid nitrogen is very cold, so appropriate safety precautions must be taken when handling it, as frostbite and cryogenic burns can be induced, much like the results of steam or hot oil. These factors are hampering the liquid nitrogen market growth.
Liquid Nitrogen Market Landscape
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies adopted by players in the liquid nitrogen market. Major players in the liquid nitrogen market are Praxair Inc., Air Liquide S.A., The Linde Group, Messer Group, Nexair LLC., Taiyo Nippon Sanso Corporation, Air Products and Chemicals Inc., Gulf Cryo, Emirates Industrial Gases Co. LLC, and Southern Industrial Gas Berhad.
In November 2019, ELON Musk’s Starship prototype covered a launch complex in huge plumes of frosty liquid nitrogen during a test failure. The icy chemical was being used as part of a propellant test, and is at least -197C – and often much colder.
Europe dominates the liquid nitrogen market, owing to the flourishing chemical industry in the region. According to the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC), the European chemical industry is still a world leader and a highly innovative sector. And from 2017 to 2018, European chemical sales rose by 2.8 percent.
In the electronics industry, the market for liquid nitrogen is also growing for the development of flat panel displays, light-emitting diodes, and semiconductors. According to Ministerio De Industria, Comercio Y Turismo, Spain is one of the most important ICT markets by volume in Europe i.e. €108,862 Million. Thus, the increasing electronics sector will propel market growth over the forecast period.
Liquid nitrogen, due to its properties such as low temperature is employed as a cryogen in cryotherapies, cryosurgeries, and cryopreservation, which are primarily utilized for curing skin, skin cancers, removing skin tags and moles. Liquid nitrogen often kills rotting tissues and is likely to be used mainly wherever cooling is needed. These liquid nitrogen applications are expected to increase the growth of the industry.
Liquid nitrogen as a coolant is limited by the fact that it boils, enveloping the object in insulating nitrogen gas, on contact with a warmer object. This effect is referred to as the Leidenfrost effect, which may restrict market growth.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of the countries have gone under lockdown, due to which the operations of various industries such as chemical and pharmaceutical are disruptively stopped, which is hampering the liquid nitrogen market growth.
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