Acrylamide is a white odorless crystalline solid soluble in water, ether, ethanol and chloroform. Acrylamide is primarily used to produce polyacrylamide, which further finds applications in various end-user industries. Acrylamide is produced by the hydrolysis of acrylonitrile by nitrile hydratase. Commercially, acrylamide is synthesized on a large scale to produce polyacrylamide. Polyacrylamide is further used in several applications such as water treatment, enhanced oil recovery, paper making etc. Some of the other commercial application of acrylamide includes manufacture of monomers and manufacture of dyes.
Growth in the demand for water and wastewater treatment coupled with expanding oil and gas activities are expected to be the major demand drivers for acrylamide in the next few years. Water and wastewater treatment is the largest application segment of acrylamide both in terms of volume and revenue. Stringent laws have been put in place by various governments in developed region regarding wastewater treatment. Acrylamide is extensively used for treating wastewater across the globe. In municipal wastewater treatment, acrylamide is used for primary sewage treatment as a solid-liquid separator. Acrylamide also finds uses in a wide variety of industrial wastewater treatment processes that involve petrochemical, textiles, electroplating, pharmaceuticals, leather, breweries and paper. Increasingly stringent regulations particularly related to wastewater from industrial and municipal sources, is expected to drive the growth of acrylamide in the near future. Urban wastewater treatment is not subject to global economics and thus it is expected to promote acrylamide consumption in municipal wastewater treatment applications.
Acrylamides are used for the economical recovery of unconventional gases through hydraulic fracturing. Shale gas is an unconventional source of natural gas and is high in ethane and other hydro carbon content. U.S. chemical firms are expected to invest around USD 71.7 billion in new shale gas capacities by 2020. These new capacities extracting shale gas are expected to propel the demand for acrylamide in hydraulic fracturing operations. Companies that are expected to invest in shale gas are:
Chevron Philips, Dow Chemicals, Mitsui, Shell Chemicals and ExxonMobil Chemical among others. Numerous shale gas reserves occur throughout the world with a significant number of shale reserves present in Europe. Thus, this increase in shale gas extraction activities is expected to drive the consumption of acrylamide for fracking applications worldwide.
In terms of acrylamide production, Asia Pacific was the major producer of acrylamide followed by North America and Europe. Consumption pattern of acrylamide was similar to the production pattern across the globe. In terms of consumption, Asia Pacific was the major consumer of acrylamide, globally. Asia Pacific was followed by North America, Europe and Rest of the World. North America is one of the major markets for water and wastewater treatment industry and thus is also an important demand destination for acrylamide. The major acrylamide markets in North America were U.S and Canada. Europe has a several regulations pertaining to wastewater treatment and these regulations are expected to be the major driving force for acrylamide in the next few years. In Europe, the major acrylamide consumptions markets were Germany, France, Italy, and U.K amongst others. In Asia Pacific, China accounted for the largest demand for acrylamide followed by India, Japan, Indonesia etc. There has been a growing demand for acrylamide and its products especially from countries of Asia Pacific such as China and India. With further economic development of these regions is expected to further propel the demand for acrylamide and its derivates in the near future.
Some of the major companies operating in the global acrylamide market are SNF Group, Kemira, Nalco, BASF SE and INEOS among others.
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