The global zeolite market was valued at USD 13,273 million in 2022. It is estimated to reach USD 20,320 million by 2031, growing at a CAGR of 5.9% during the forecast period (2023–2031).
Zeolite is a natural material with a unique structure of tiny holes and spaces. Its peculiar shape allows it to absorb and store various substances, including chemicals, ions, and gases. Zeolites have many applications due to their selective sorption properties. They can be used as sieves to separate and clean gases as well as catalysts in chemical reactions to clean water, preserve soil nutrients, and get rid of odors. Zeolites are gaining a lot of attention for their potential in areas like cleaning trash, filtering air, and even as food supplements due to their many different qualities and uses.
Synthetic zeolites have emerged as a highly efficient solution for ion exchange, particularly in the context of water softening to remove minerals like magnesium and calcium. Previously, the detergent industry heavily relied on phosphate builders such as Sodium Tripolyphosphate (STPP). However, there has been a transition towards zeolite 4A due to the recognition of the environmental impact associated with phosphate builders. This shift is primarily motivated by the growing awareness of the pollution caused by phosphate builders in detergents.
Several countries have implemented regulations to restrict the use of phosphate builders in detergent manufacturing. The European Parliament and the Council of the European Union have established stringent regulations against including phosphate builders. In response to these regulations, countries like China, Japan, and India have widely adopted synthetic zeolites due to their lower toxicity than STPP. Synthetic zeolites offer advantages such as consistent molecular size, high adsorption capacities even at low concentrations, and effective sequestration of minerals at higher temperatures. Their environmentally-friendly nature has facilitated the increasing incorporation of zeolite-4A in the detergent industry.
Zeolite does not function like other absorbents because it is very good at absorbing, binding, and absorbing the elements in molecules and nuclear isotopes. It can be used for a wide range of purposes due to its unique quality. Zeolite and ion exchange methods are used to clean up low-level nuclear waste. More and more people use nuclear power plants because they are cheaper and have better technology than coal or natural gas-fired plants. Nuclear power is especially popular with large companies that need a steady power source.
In 2021, the Energy Information Administration of the United States said that nuclear power made up about 8% of the United States overall energy-producing capability. It also made up about 19% of the power used by utilities. In 2021, nuclear power plants had an average capacity factor of 92.7%, higher than the average for other power plants. Zeolites will probably become more prevalent as the nuclear energy industry expands. Therefore, the growth of the global market is driven by the increase in nuclear energy production.
Some zeolite dusts are believed to be hazardous nuisance dusts. Because zeolites are included in personal care products, there is concern regarding their safety. Even inadvertently inhaling these dust particles might endanger people’s safety and health. Zeolites represent a diverse group of silicate minerals that have the potential to cause respiratory ailments when inhaled. Zeolites may develop blockages and turn toxic when used as catalysts. As a result, the fact that produced zeolites are toxic is a major issue with their utilization.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are dangerous substances that result from petrochemical reactions. These compounds are present in various products, such as solvent-based paints, adhesives, sealants, printing inks, and numerous consumer goods. The highest emissions of VOCs occur in the chemical and petrochemical industries. VOC exposure can lead to respiratory difficulties and damage the central nervous system. Some VOCs, like formaldehyde, are even known to be carcinogenic.
Organizations such as Evaluation, Registration, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have implemented strict regulations to regulate and control VOC emissions. Therefore, there is a growing demand for materials with low VOC content. Zeolites possess advantageous properties such as non-flammability, thermal stability, and hydrophobicity, making them highly efficient adsorbents for removing VOCs. Zeolites have shown greater effectiveness in VOC removal than activated carbon. As a result, manufacturers of zeolites are presented with lucrative growth opportunities due to the increasing demand for VOC-absorbing materials.
The global zeolite market is bifurcated into product type and application.
Based on the product type, the global market is divided into natural and synthetic.
The natural segment is the highest contributor to the market share and is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period. The natural zeolite segment refers to zeolites occurring naturally in the environment without any human-made processes. These zeolites are formed over long periods through the interaction of volcanic ash with groundwater during volcanic activity. They possess a distinct porous structure and can exchange ions, making them highly valuable for various uses.
Based on the application, the global market is divided into detergents, absorbent/desiccant, catalysts, and others.
The detergent segment owns the largest market share and is predicted to grow substantially over the forecast period. Zeolites are utilized in the formulation of soaps, playing a significant role in washing processes. Zeolites are used in the soap business to improve how well cleansers clean and work. Zeolites, like Zeolite A and Zeolite X, are used as detergent building blocks. In addition, builders are additives that help soften water and make surfactants work better. Surfactants are what remove dirt and stains from fabrics. Zeolites act as ion exchangers, changing the sodium ions in hard water for the calcium and magnesium ions. This exchange process stops unnecessary solid mineral layers from forming, which makes the detergents work better.
Based on region, the global zeolite market is bifurcated into North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Asia-Pacific is the most significant shareholder in the global market and is predicted to grow significantly during the forecast period. Asia-Pacific held the biggest share of the market in 2022. The market is witnessing rapid growth due to countries like China and India and the significant investments in manufacturing activities in these regions. These countries have a high production capacity in sectors such as animal feed, chemicals, and soaps, driving the zeolite demand. A notable example is the upcoming Zhejiang Petrochemical Daishan Xylene Plant 2 in China, which can produce millions of tons of xylene annually. Approximately 500 other projects in the petroleum industry in China are expected to commence operations soon. Such factors drive regional market growth.
Europe is the second largest market for zeolite. Stringent regulations on urban and industrial wastewater treatment have been implemented in Europe to address the increasing environmental concerns. These regulations focus on properly treating wastewater to prevent toxic substances from being released into the environment. Zeolites, with their exceptional adsorption properties and capacity to remove pollutants, are well-suited to meet the requirements set by these regulations. Therefore, the zeolite industry in Europe is projected to witness substantial growth as companies work towards fulfilling stringent wastewater treatment standards.
The North American region represents lucrative growth opportunities for Zeolite Market over the forecast period. North American companies' growth of animal feed businesses is likely to have a big effect on the market in North America. This growth is helped by the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict rules about how animal feed goods can be used. These rules are meant to make sure that animal feed is safe and of good quality. This will help the market grow in North America.
In LAMEA, the zeolite business is expected to grow in the near future. Rapid development and population in these areas drive up demand for zeolite in many businesses. In Latin America, countries like Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina are seeing growth in industries like farmland, water treatment, and building, driving the need for zeolite. Countries like the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar put a lot of money into building their infrastructure in the Middle East. This makes it possible to use zeolite in construction uses. The region's focus on garbage cleaning and protecting the environment increases zeolite demand.
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