Natural Zeolites Market size is forecast to reach US$7.2 billion by 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 3.2% during 2022-2027. The application of natural zeolites in detergents and petroleum industries, due to its property to soften water without any environmental effects, and replacing environmentally toxic phosphates in powdered laundry detergents, is expected to drive the natural zeolite market growth during the forecast period. Natural zeolites are generally used as adsorbent materials, which is expected to be the major market for natural zeolites, mainly due to the sizeable and continued growth in the water treatment industries. Zeolites in natural form is used in the water and waste water treatment industry for their exquisite ion exchange property. The rising demand for lightweight concrete in the building & construction industry, is driving the usage of natural zeolites. Large amounts of fertilizers are used to cultivate fodder crops, due to which the demand for natural zeolites is rising, additionally as soil stabilizer, and as soil conditioners in the agriculture & horticulture industry.
The COVID-19 outbreak widely affected the natural zeolites market over the year 2020. Owing to the nationwide lockdown, the production process of various goods in the end-use industries declined due to the non-functioning of the manufacturing plants. The domestic sales and export of different raw materials have also witnessed a halt during the COVID-19 outbreak. Economies of each sector got affected and resulted in stagnation of activities across the industries that uses natural zeolites. For instance, according to Eurostat, In April 2021, construction production decreased by 1.6% in the E.U. compared with March 2021; in the euro area, the decrease amounted to 2.2%. Additionally, after an unprecedented decline in March and April (-25.4%), construction in the E.U. region increased dynamically in May 2021 (21.6%) but has since stagnated. Thus, once the building and construction activities get back on track and start functioning with total capacity, the market for natural zeolites is estimated to incline in the upcoming years.
Natural Zeolites Market Segment Analysis – By Application
The ion exchange segment held the largest share in the natural zeolites market in 2021. Ion-exchange characteristics of natural zeolites can be used in agriculture & horticulture sector, due to their large cation-exchange capacity and high porosity. Ion-exchange by natural zeolites can be used as both a medium to free nutrients, and as a carrier of nutrients. Natural zeolites are important for many applications in agriculture and environmental engineering. Ion exchange and adsorption characteristics of natural zeolites, have the advantage of removing impurities, at relatively low concentrations. Natural zeolites ion exchange method is used for the decrement of high concentrations of cations and anions in drinking water and wastewater, for surface, public municipal water treatment, and underground. The increasing government investments for waste water treatment, will drive the market growth in the forecast period. For instance, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Bette Brand, in 2020, invested US$281 million in 106 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure. Thus, the rising growth of the ion exchange segment is anticipated to drive the growth of the natural zeolites market over the forecast period.
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Natural Zeolites Market Segment Analysis – By End-Use Industry
Agriculture & horticulture industry held the largest share in the natural zeolites market in 2021 and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.8% during 2022-2027. Natural zeolites have high ion exchange and water retention capacity, which increases their usage in fertilizers, as soil stabilizer, and also, as soil conditioners. Natural zeolites are also applied to raise the ammonia retentivity of the soil. Natural zeolites prevent the intake of heavy metals in the food chain. Natural zeolites trap metals, such as copper, lead, cadmium, and zinc. Natural zeolites are an efficient carrier of fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides, due to high ion exchange. The rising investments in the chemical & fertilizer sector, has raised the demand for the natural zeolites market. For instance, according to Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, in 2020, the government provided nutrient based subsidy of Rs. 15801.96 crores and urea subsidy of Rs. 53950.75 crores on fertilizers. Thus, with the growth of the chemical & fertilizer sector, the market for natural zeolites will further rise over the forecast period.
Natural Zeolites Market Segment Analysis – By Geography
Asia-Pacific region dominated the natural zeolites market with a share of 35% in the year 2021. APAC region is one of the leading natural zeolites manufacturers globally, with China and India being the key consumers and suppliers of natural zeolites. Natural zeolites are used as adsorbents, catalysts, ion exchange, active filler and other applications. Moreover, the rising growth of several end-use industries such as building & construction, wastewater and water treatment, animal nutrition, pharmaceutical & healthcare, and others, has uplifted the development of the natural zeolites market. For instance, according to the World Bank, in 2020, the building and construction industry reached US$ 11.9 trillion, with an increase of about 4.2% from 2019. Additionally, according to Invest India, the Indian healthcare market is expected to reach US$ 372 Bn by 2022 from US$ 190 Bn in 2020. Thus, the rising usage of natural zeolites in various end-use industries will drive the market growth in the forecast period.
Natural Zeolites Market Drivers
Increasing Adoption of Natural Zeolites in the Pharmaceutical & Healthcare Industry
Ion-exchange by natural zeolites is used in the pharmaceutical & healthcare industry as inactive pharmaceutical constituents. Taste-masking agents are one of the more ingenious uses of ion-exchange by natural zeolites. They are extensively used in oral sustained-release products, topical products for local application to the skin, and ophthalmic and nasal delivery. Globally, with the rising growth in the healthcare sector, the demand for natural zeolites in pharmaceutical & healthcare industry is also estimated to rise. For instance, in China, by 2030, the size of the healthcare industry is expected to reach 16 trillion RMB (US$ 2.3 Million), according to the staff research report on the “US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.” Thus, the increasing demand for natural zeolites in the pharmaceutical & healthcare industry, is anticipated to drive the growth of the market over the forecast period.
Rising Demand for Natural Zeolites in Building & Construction Activities will Drive the Growth of the Market
The rising demand for lightweight concrete made from natural zeolites in the building & construction activities is forecasted to drive the demand for natural zeolites. Natural zeolites are used as additives in construction materials, they are also used as a cement blending material. Lightweight concrete is preferred over ordinary concrete due to many reasons such as less thermal expansion, better sound absorption, and improved fire resistance. Additionally, natural zeolites are utilized in dimension stones, soil stabilizers, and lightweight aggregates, under construction materials. The rising growth in the cement production sector, is increasing the demand for natural zeolites. For instance, according to Invest India, in 2021, cement production increased by 21.8% from 2020. Thus, the rising usage of natural zeolites for cement production in the building & construction industry, will further raise the market for natural zeolites over the forecast period.
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Natural Zeolites Market Challenges
Availability of Substitutes will Hamper the Market Growth
The availability of substitutes for natural zeolites such as diatomite, perlite, and bentonite, is hindering its growth over the forecast period. These substitutes are used to replace natural zeolites in the product in concrete, water purification, soil amendment, and pet litter applications. Bentonite can be purchased in multiple forms whereas zeolite is available in liquid form only, for medicinal purposes. A lethal form of lung cancer, known as mesothelioma, is caused by zeolites uptake. Also, perlite provides higher Ca and Mg contents in plant tissues, in comparison to the zeolite medium. Thus, availability of substitutes for natural zeolites will create hurdles for the market’s growth.
Natural Zeolites Industry Outlook
Technology launches, acquisitions, and R&D activities are key strategies players adopt in this market. Natural Zeolites top 10 companies include:
In 2020, BASF launched Altrium™, a new Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) catalyst for mild to heavy resid feedstock. Altrium incorporates BASF’s newest Advanced Innovative Matrix (AIM) and the proven technology IZY (Improved Zeolite-Y), in order to increase the transportation fuels yield.
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A. Zeolites Market – Forecast (2021 – 2026)
B. Synthetic Zeolites Market – Forecast (2021 – 2026)
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