Nickel sulfate, an inorganic crystalline compound, is an ester or salt of sulfuric acid formed by replacing hydrogen with metal. Its molecular formula is NiSO4. Nickel sulfate is usually obtained in anhydrous or hexahydrate form. It is usually available in three colors: yellow, green, and blue. It is moderately soluble in water and acid. Nickel sulfate is widely used in products for surface treatment of metals. It is also used as a chemical intermediate in the manufacturing process of other nickel compounds, which can be used in printing and dyeing of textiles. Nickel sulfate is also employed in the production of fertilizers, electrical, optical, & electronic equipment, machinery, and vehicles, etc. End-user industries that utilize nickel sulfate include forestry, fisheries, and agriculture. Several health and environmental hazards are associated with nickel sulfate. It produces toxic gases when heated. Exposure to nickel sulfate may lead to several skin allergies, dermatitis, and breathing disorders. Increase in exposure to nickel sulfate may also affect lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and the neurological system. It is a possible carcinogen and may lead to nasal and lung cancers. As a result, upon release in the environment, immediate steps should be taken to limit it from spreading. This has given rise to the need for substitutes for nickel sulfate.
In terms of grade, the nickel sulfate market can be segmented into EN grade, plating grade, and high-purity grade. Demand for electroplating applications has been rising constantly due to the increase in demand for plating applications of nickel ion. This is majorly driven by the growth of the automotive industry, which employs plastics as well as metals that require plating. Thus, the plating grade segment dominates the nickel sulfate market. This trend is estimated to continue during the forecast period.
In terms of application, the nickel sulfate market can be split into metal surface treatment, chemical industry, battery, and others. The others segment includes production of fertilizers, electrical and automotive equipment, and machinery. Currently, the metal surface treatment segment leads the market. It comprises electrolytic as well as electroless plating. The metal surface treatment segment is anticipated to dominate the market during the forecast period. It is projected to expand at a steady pace in the near future. Nickel can be used for plating on plastics as well as metals. Plated plastics as well as plated metals form an integral part of almost all production processes that are carried out across the world. They also play an important role in the automotive industry. Thus, demand for electroplating applications is anticipated to rise due to the expansion of various end-user industries employing plated metals and plastics.
In terms of geography, Asia Pacific is likely to lead the nickel sulfate market owing to the growth of automotive and chemicals industries in the region. Rapid industrial and economic development has led to significant changes in standard of living of the people in developing countries such as China and India. Furthermore, there has been a rise in disposable income of the people in these countries. This is driving the demand for automobiles in the region. Of late, various automobile manufacturing companies have shifted their production and assembly plants to countries such as China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia to make use of the cost-effective labor and low-cost land, and cater to the growth in the market in the region. This is driving the demand for several applications of nickel sulfate, thereby boosting the demand for nickel sulfate.
Major players operating in the global market include American Elements, Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd., Green Eco-Manufacturer, Jilin Jien Nickel Industry, Tinchem Enterprises, Jinco Nonferrous, Huaze Cobalt & Nickel, Zenith, Umicore, and Univertical.
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