Home Speciality Chemicals Zirconium Tubes Market Size, Share & Trends Report, 2031

Zirconium Tubes Market

Zirconium Tubes Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Type (Zr 702, Zr 704, Zr 705), By Application (Heat Exchangers, Chemical and Biological Reactors, Condensers, Corrosive Fluid Transmission Pipeline Systems, Offshore Aquaculture, Fuel Rods in Nuclear Reactors) and By Region(North America, Europe, APAC, Middle East and Africa, LATAM) Forecasts, 2023-2031

Report Code: SRSC55852DR
Study Period 2019-2031 CAGR 8%
Historical Period 2019-2021 Forecast Period 2023-2031
Base Year 2022 Base Year Market Size USD 2.1 Billion
Forecast Year 2031 Forecast Year Market Size USD 4.2 Billion
Largest Market Asia Pacific Fastest Growing Market North America
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Market Overview

The global zirconium tubes market size was valued at USD 2.1 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach a value of USD 4.2 billion by 2031, registering a CAGR of 8.0% during the forecast period (2023-2031). The increasing number of industrial uses for zirconium is a critical component of the increase in zirconium tubes market revenue, and the expansion of the nuclear industry will encourage zirconium tubes market growth.

Zirconium tubes are cylindrical constructions constructed of zirconium, a chemical element noted for its high-temperature stability and outstanding corrosion resistance. Zirconium is widely employed in various industries due to its unique qualities, and zirconium tubes are used in various critical applications. The global zirconium tubes market share is anticipated to experience profitable growth owing to the increasing number of zirconium-based industrial applications. It is a lithophile metal that creates a variety of minerals, including baddeleyite and zircon. Zirconium has little mobility under most environmental circumstances due to the stable presence of zircon and the low stability of Zr(OH)4. Zircon can be found in volcanic and plutonic rocks.

Zircon is extracted commercially as a byproduct of other minerals such as rutile, ilmenite, and gold. Commercial methods for producing zirconium include halide reduction using calcium or sodium, decomposition, and fusion electrolysis. As the product finds application as a construction material in the nuclear industry, the expansion of the nuclear sector has positively impacted market development.

Highlights

  • Zr 702 accounts for the largest share of the market by type.
  • Heat Exchangers generates the most revenue by application.
  • Asia-Pacific dominates the global market.

Market Dynamics

Zirconium Tubes Market Drivers

Nuclear Power Generation

The nuclear power sector is a significant consumer of zirconium tubes, primarily for cladding in nuclear fuel rods. Zirconium tubes are widely utilized as cladding material for nuclear reactor fuel rods. Cladding acts as a protective covering around the nuclear fuel, preventing radioactive elements from being released and guaranteeing the fuel rod's integrity. The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that nuclear power capacity must double to 812 gigatonnes (GW) by 2050 to achieve net-zero emissions. The IEA reported a nuclear power capacity of 413 GW in 2022. According to the World Nuclear Association, numerous nuclear power plants are in various stages of development and construction worldwide. According to the World Nuclear Association, 440 nuclear reactors with a total capacity of 390GW were operational in 33 nations as of May 2023. Another 60 nuclear power reactors are being built in 15 other countries, including China, India, and Russia.

As a result, increased nuclear power capacity and the construction of new nuclear reactors increase demand for zirconium tubes. Zirconium is desirable for cladding in nuclear fuel assemblies due to its unique features, such as low neutron absorption and corrosion resistance. Furthermore, strict safety and regulatory regulations govern the nuclear power business. The fact that zirconium meets these specifications validates its use in crucial applications. Thus, the zirconium tubes market trend is predicted to evolve as nuclear power generation increases.

Zirconium Tubes Market Restraints

High Cost of Zirconium

The high cost of zirconium is a significant impediment to the growth of the zirconium tubes market. Extraction, purification, and zirconium processing involve complex methods that increase manufacturing costs. Zirconium is frequently extracted from the mineral zircon by various chemical procedures, and refining zirconium to fulfill the rigorous purity standards for diverse uses can be time-consuming and resource-intensive. Zirconium is a relatively scarce and costly element. The average import price of zirconium in the United States from 2018 to 2022 was USD 29. Zirconium tubes range in price from USD 1.10 to USD 2,995, depending on the tube type.

Additionally, the high cost of zirconium makes widespread adoption difficult, particularly when financial concerns are critical. Industries looking for cost-effective solutions may look at materials that provide equivalent functionality at a cheaper cost. The USGS provides information on the production and pricing of zirconium ores and concentrates. For example, price fluctuations in zirconium ore can impact the total cost structure. The average import price for zirconium ore and concentrate in 2022 was USD 1,482 per ton, a 41% increase over the previous year. However, the import price has been quickly falling. 

Thus, in industries with tight budgets, such as infrastructure, the high cost of zirconium may lead to cost-benefit assessments favoring alternative materials. Furthermore, manufacturers' competitive pricing methods become critical in sustaining market share, especially when clients prioritize cost efficiency.

Zirconium Tubes Market Opportunity

Growing Demand in Emerging Industries and Applications

The transition to greener and more sustainable energy sources gives a tremendous opportunity for zirconium tubes, particularly in developing energy technologies that require high-performance materials. Zirconium's distinct qualities make it a promising contender for use in advanced energy systems. Zirconium is well suited for application in modern solar thermal systems where effective heat transfer is critical because of its excellent temperature stability. The heat-resistant qualities of zirconium tubes in heat exchangers may help concentrated solar power (CSP) systems, which use mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight into a tiny area. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) predicts the worldwide solar thermal market will rise from USD 20.94 billion in 2022 to USD 30.24 billion by 2030. From 2023 to 2030, this is a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7%.

Furthermore, ongoing nuclear power advances, such as research on next-generation reactors, present potential for zirconium tubes with better features. Advanced reactors, such as molten salt or high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, may require zirconium for corrosion and high-temperature resistance. The World Nuclear Association (WNA) is a non-profit organization that provides information about nuclear energy and the nuclear fuel cycle. The WNA also established the Harmony target, which calls for nuclear power to supply at least 25% of the world's electricity by 2050. As a result, manufacturers and industry stakeholders can seize this opportunity by remaining current on technology breakthroughs and actively participating in the energy transition.

Regional Analysis

The global zirconium tubes market analysis is conducted in North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.

Asia-Pacific Dominates the Global Market

Asia-Pacific is the most significant global zirconium tubes market shareholder and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 8.2% over the forecast period. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) zirconium tubes market is increasing substantially thanks to industrialization, infrastructural development, and improvements in critical areas. Asia-Pacific countries, mainly China and India, are investing in nuclear power as part of their energy mix. Zirconium tubes play an essential role in nuclear reactors. China is one of the product's leading buyers, owing to its fast-expanding nuclear sector and massive ceramics exports, in which zirconium silicate is a critical raw element. According to the World Nuclear Association, China has over 40 nuclear power plants. Furthermore, the country's government's Energy Action Plan aims to achieve 58 gigatonnes (GW) of nuclear power. According to a World Steel Association estimate, China accounted for 53% of global steel output, which totaled 1950.5 metric tons.

Furthermore, the Chinese government has allowed the construction of 43 new EAFs with a total crude steel capacity of 29.33 million mt/year in 2021. Thus, constructing new steel factories is projected to increase the refractory market, increasing the country's use of zirconium. Rapid industrialization in nations such as China has raised the demand for chemicals, pushing the demand for minerals such as zirconium in chemical processing. China accounted for 30% of the global chemical market in 2015. China's chemical demand increased by over 60% between 2011 and 2020. The rising expenditures in renewable energy projects such as concentrated solar power (CSP) in countries like India may increase demand for zirconium tubes in related applications.

North America is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 7.9% over the forecast period. The zirconium tubes market in North America is dynamic, impacted by variables ranging from industry-specific demands to regulatory frameworks. Zirconium tubes are used to fabricate reactor fuel rods in nuclear power plants around North America. The United States had 54 nuclear power facilities operational in 28 states as of August 1, 2023. These plants have 93 commercial nuclear reactors, with 19 having one reactor, 31 having two, and four having three.

Additionally, chemical industries in the region use zirconium tubes in reactors and heat exchangers for corrosive chemical operations. According to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the chemical sector will grow by 2% annually between 2024 and 2031. The regulatory environment, which includes nuclear safety standards, environmental restrictions, and industry-specific norms, influences the use of zirconium tubes. In the United States, compliance with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) rules assures the safe use of zirconium in nuclear applications. Furthermore, import and export trends might impact the availability and cost of zirconium tubes in North America.

Europe holds a significant market share. Zirconium tubes fabricate fuel rods for nuclear reactors in European countries with established nuclear power projects. 13 of the 27 European Union (EU) countries had nuclear reactors as of February 2020. France generated 69% of its electricity from nuclear power reactors in 2021, the highest share of any EU member state. Nuclear power plants provided more than half of the electricity in Slovakia (52%) and Belgium (51%). 

In addition, European countries that invest in renewable energy initiatives such as concentrated solar power (CSP) or geothermal power may increase demand for zirconium tubes. Spain intends to quadruple its CSP capacity from 2.3 GW to 4.8 GW by 2025 and 7.3 GW by 2030, but no capacity was under construction in 2022. In 2022, Italy had 8 MW of CSP capacity under development, and it will add 880 MW by 2030.

The Middle East and Africa, and Latin America are predicted to develop slowly throughout the forecast period, according to zirconium tubes market insights. Nuclear power generates less than 1% of electricity in the Middle East, compared to 19% in the United States and 24% in Europe. There are just two operational nuclear power facilities in the Middle East, one in Iran and one in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As a result, it is projected to impact the market indirectly.

Report Scope

Report Metric Details
Segmentations
By Type
  1. Zr 702
  2. Zr 704
  3. Zr 705
By Application
  1. Heat Exchangers
  2. Chemical and Biological Reactors
  3. Condensers
  4. Corrosive Fluid Transmission Pipeline Systems
  5. Offshore Aquaculture
  6. Fuel Rods in Nuclear Reactors
Company Profiles Sandvik (Kanthal) American Elements Superior Tube Tricor Metals United Titanium BWX Technologies Edgetech Industries Fine Tubes Duisburg Special Tubes KJ Tubing Baoji Wang Delong Metal Materials Suresh Steel Centre Baoji Tianrui Nonferrous Metal Materials Baoti Baoji Yongshengtai Titanium Industry.
Geographies Covered
North America U.S. Canada
Europe U.K. Germany France Spain Italy Russia Nordic Benelux Rest of Europe
APAC China Korea Japan India Australia Singapore Taiwan South East Asia Rest of Asia-Pacific
Middle East and Africa UAE Turkey Saudi Arabia South Africa Egypt Nigeria Rest of MEA
LATAM Brazil Mexico Argentina Chile Colombia Rest of LATAM
Report Coverage Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends
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Segmental Analysis

The global zirconium tubes market is segmented based on type, application, and region.

By Type, the market is further segmented into Zr 702, Zr 704, and Zr 705.

Zr 702 accounts for the largest share of the market.

Zr 702

The most common zirconium alloy grade is Zr 702. It is also known as Zircaloy-2 and is utilized as a cladding material for fuel rods in nuclear applications. Zr 702 is a high-corrosion-resistant commercially pure zirconium grade. This grade is frequently used in chemical processing equipment where corrosion resistance is required. It is appropriate for chemical plant applications such as heat exchangers and reactors. Zr 702 is projected to have the most significant market share because of its broad applicability, low cost, and good strength and corrosion resistance mix.

Zr 704

Zr 704 is a commercially pure zirconium grade with somewhat higher impurity levels than Zr 702. Zr 704 is widely utilized in applications similar to Zr 702, particularly in the chemical sector. It can be chosen based on corrosion resistance requirements and cost factors.

The market can be bifurcated by application into Heat Exchangers, Chemical and Biological Reactors, Condensers, Corrosive Fluid Transmission Pipeline Systems, Offshore Aquaculture, and Fuel Rods in Nuclear Reactors.

Heat Exchangers generates the most revenue.

Heat Exchangers

When heat transfer efficiency is critical, heat exchangers often employ zirconium tubes. Zirconium's excellent temperature stability and corrosion resistance are ideal for heat exchange applications in various sectors. Heat exchangers are used in operations where heat must be transported between two fluids, and zirconium tubes help these systems to be more reliable and long-lasting. Heat exchangers and chemical and biological reactors are solid rivals for the dominant segment because of their extensive use, substantial volume consumption, and diversity.

Chemical and Biological Reactors

Zirconium tubes are used in chemical and biological reactors where corrosion resistance is needed. The tubes are employed in aggressive chemical and physical processes to contain and facilitate chemical reactions. The corrosion resistance of zirconium is critical for maintaining the integrity of reactors used to manufacture chemicals and pharmaceuticals.

Market Size By Type

Market Size By Type
  • Zr 702
  • Zr 704
  • Zr 705
  • Recent Developments

    • June 2023- NPCIL received the first fuel bundle from the NFC-Kota plant. NFC offers a comprehensive manufacturing cycle that includes the processing of uranium and zirconium streams under one roof. It specializes in producing nuclear fuel bundles for PHWR, BWR, fast breeder reactors, reactor core components, different tubes, and high-purity unique materials.
    • December 2023- BWXT began production of TRISO fuel for the first generation IV microreactor in the United States.

    Top Key Players

    Zirconium Tubes Market Share of Key Players

    Zirconium Tubes Market Share of Key Players
    Sandvik (Kanthal) American Elements Superior Tube Tricor Metals United Titanium BWX Technologies Edgetech Industries Fine Tubes Duisburg Special Tubes KJ Tubing Baoji Wang Delong Metal Materials Suresh Steel Centre Baoji Tianrui Nonferrous Metal Materials Baoti Baoji Yongshengtai Titanium Industry. Others

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    What is the projected market value of the Zirconium Tubes?
    The global Zirconium Tubes market size is projected to reach USD 4.2 billion by 2031.
    Asia-Pacific region has the largest share of the Zirconium Tubes market.
    The Zr 702 sector is expected to dominate over the forecast period.
    Sandvik (Kanthal), American Elements, Superior Tube, Tricor Metals, United Titanium, BWX Technologies, Edgetech Industries, Fine Tubes, Duisburg Special Tubes, KJ Tubing, Baoji Wang Delong Metal Materials, Suresh Steel Centre, Baoji Tianrui Nonferrous Metal Materials, Baoti, Baoji Yongshengtai Titanium Industry., are the prominent players in the Zirconium Tubes Market.
    Growing Demand in Emerging Industries and Applications is one of the key opportunities in Zirconium Tubes market.


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