Phosphoric Acid Market – Snapshot

Phosphoric acid, also known as orthophosphoric acid, is a mineral and weak acid with chemical formula H3PO4. In terms of production value, phosphoric acid is the inorganic acid produced and consumed in the highest amount. In terms of volume, it is the second-most produced and consumed inorganic acid, after sulfuric acid. The leading use of phosphoric acid is in the manufacture of phosphate chemicals. Phosphoric acid can be produced by two commercial methods: wet process and thermal process. Wet process phosphoric acid is used in fertilizer production. Thermal process phosphoric acid is of higher purity and it is used in the manufacture of high-grade chemicals, pharmaceuticals, detergents, food products, beverages, and other non-fertilizer products.

global phosphoric acid market

In a wet process facility, phosphoric acid is produced by reacting sulfuric acid (H2SO4) with the naturally occurring phosphate rock. The phosphate rock is dried, crushed, and then continuously fed into the reactor along with sulfuric acid. The reaction combines calcium from the phosphate rock with sulfate, forming calcium sulfate (CaSO4) and phosphoric acid.

The thermal process requires raw materials such as elemental (yellow) phosphorus, air, and water for the production of phosphoric acid. Following steps are used in the thermal process: combustion, hydration, and demisting. In combustion, liquid elemental phosphorus is burned (oxidized) in ambient air in a combustion chamber at temperatures ranging from 1650°C to 2760°C (from 3000°F to 5000°F) to form phosphorus pentoxide. Phosphorus pentoxide is then hydrated with dilute phosphoric acid or water to produce strong phosphoric acid in liquid form. Demisting removes the phosphoric acid mist from the combustion gas stream before releasing it into the atmosphere.

The demand for phosphoric acid is primarily driven by the increasing demand for the production of phosphate fertilizers, which is closely related to the growing population worldwide. According to the UN Department of Economics & Social Affairs, the global population is expected to increase by two billion and reach 9.7 billion by 2050. The increasing population propels the demand for food, which is fulfilled by crops nourished with fertilizers. Developing countries and regions are using fertilizers at a much higher rate than developed countries. Phosphorus is an essential plant nutrient. It is uptaken by plant roots, usually as a dihydrogen phosphate ion (H2PO4-) derived from phosphoric acid (H3PO4). Fertilizers are used to compensate phosphorus deficiencies in the soil. Diammonium phosphate (DAP), monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and trisodium phosphate (TSP) are three important fertilizers derived from phosphoric acid, which are used across the globe to increase the crop yield and satisfy the increasing demand for food. Diammonium phosphate fertilizers are rich in mineral phosphorus. They are widely used in the production of grain and row crops (such as corn, wheat, rye) and some lawn grasses. Thus, increase in the demand for phosphate fertilizers boosts the demand for phosphoric acid.

The environmental impact of phosphoric acid and phosphates in general has been investigated over the years and with the recent and relatively clear results, regulations have been imposed on the use of these chemicals. Phosphates and phosphoric acid affect water systems and pollute the water. High usage of phosphates in water bodies leads to an imbalanced water system. Phosphates provide nutrients to plants in a water body such as floating algae, which results in their abrupt growth. This decreases the supply of oxygen to animals in the water body. The entire cycle causes an imbalance, harming the human life, as humans rely on water bodies for sustenance. This cycle of pollution is a well-documented fact and is also the reason why phosphoric acid are being heavily regulated and banned in several regions across the world. Thus, the environmental impact of phosphates hampers the market for phosphoric acid.

Due to the rising demand for food, quality of crops needs to be improved and crop production needs to be increased. This is achieved by using phosphate fertilizers on crops. This, in turn, fulfills the global food demand. Market players, along with government bodies and cooperatives, are adopting various measures to improve awareness among farmers. These initiatives include educating farmers regarding the use of online portals developed specifically to provide information related to phosphate products. Detailed information is provided and frequently updated studies on availability, effectiveness, correct time, and amount of application of phosphate fertilizers are uploaded on these portals. Seminars are organized in collaboration with farmer cooperatives and government bodies to reach out to farmers with the appropriate information. Major market players have launched interactive online portals with live assistance by their regional representatives to keep farmers updated and resolve their plant-disease-related queries.

Key players operating in the global phosphoric acid market are focusing on capacity expansion and mergers, which is likely to propel the market during the forecast period. The market players of the phosphoric acid hold almost half of the total global phosphoric acid capacity and are giving fertilizers based products derived from the phosphoric acid.

Phosphoric Acid Market - Overview

Phosphorus acid is also known as orthophosphoric acid, and it is used in the manufacture of the fertilizers. At the industrial level, phosphoric acid is produced by two methods: the thermal process and the wet process. The wet process method is predominantly used in the commercial sector. The more expensive thermal process method produces a purer product, which is used in the food industry. In wet process, phosphoric acid is produced from the phosphate rock. The process involves addition of concentrated sulfuric acid into a series of well-stirred reactors. The thermal process method requires raw materials such as elemental (yellow) phosphorus, air, and water for the production of phosphoric acid. The following steps are a part of the thermal process method: combustion, hydration, and demisting.

Based on application, the market for phosphoric acid can be divided into fertilizers, food additives, animal feed, and others. Fertilizers is the key application segment of the global phosphoric acid market. The fertilizers segment can be sub-divided into diammonium phosphate (DAP), monoammonium phosphate (MAP), and trisodium phosphate (TSP), and others. DAP is the major sub-segment of the fertilizers segment. It is followed by the animal feed segment. Phosphoric acid is the key ingredient of animal feed. Phosphorous acts as a building block not only for plants, but also for humans and animals. Most notably, phosphorus aids in a variety of cell functions to build strong bones and teeth. It contributes to several other biological processes. Phosphorus is the key ingredient of animal feeds such as monocalcium phosphate (MCP) and dicalcium phosphate (DCP). Phosphate animal feeds play a critical role in maintaining livestock healthy.

Based on region, the global phosphoric acid market has been segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific dominates the global phosphoric acid market. It is followed by Latin America and North America. Increase in agricultural activities, followed by rise in the demand for food in these regions, is a major factor augmenting the demand for phosphoric acid in Latin America and North America. The large number of phosphate rock reserves in Asia Pacific and Latin America promotes growth of the phosphoric acid market in these regions.

The report analyzes and forecasts the market for phosphoric acid at the global and regional levels. The market has been projected in terms of volume (kilo tons) and revenue (US$ Mn) from 2017 to 2026. The study includes drivers and restraints for the global phosphoric acid market. It also covers the impact of these drivers and restraints on the demand for phosphoric acid during the forecast period. The report also highlights opportunities for growth of the phosphoric acid market at the global and regional levels.

The report comprises a detailed value chain analysis, which provides a comprehensive view of the global phosphoric acid market. Porter’s five forces model for the phosphoric acid market has also been included to help understand the competition landscape of the market. The study encompasses market attractiveness analysis, wherein application segments have been benchmarked based on their market size, growth rate, and general attractiveness.

The study provides a decisive view of the global phosphoric acid market by segmenting it in terms of application and region. These segments have been analyzed based on the present and future trends. Regional segmentation includes the current and forecast demand for phosphoric acid in North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The report also covers individual application segments of the market in all regions.

The study includes profiles of major companies operating in the global phosphoric acid market. Key players profiled in the report are The Mosaic Company, Nutrien Ltd., Israel Chemicals Ltd., OCP Group, Yara International, Maaden, Eurochem Group AG, WengFu Group, Prayon S.A., J.R. Simplot Company, Solvay, and CECA (Arkema Group). Market players have been profiled in terms of attributes such as company overview, business strategies, recent developments, and SWOT analysis.

The report provides the estimated market size of the global phosphoric acid market for 2017 and forecast for the next nine years. The size of the global phosphoric acid market has been provided in terms of revenue. Market numbers have been estimated based on application and region. Market size and forecast for each application segment have been provided for global and regional markets.

Global Phosphoric Acid Market – Application Analysis

  • Fertilizers
    • Diammonium Phosphate (DAP)
    • Monoammonium Phosphate (MAP)
    • Trisodium Phosphate (TSP)
    • Others
  • Food Additives
  • Animal Feed
  • Others

Global Phosphoric Acid Market – Regional Analysis

  • North America
    • U.S.
    • Canada
  • Latin America
    • Brazil
    • Mexico
    • Rest of Latin America
  • Europe
    • Germany
    • France
    • U.K.
    • Italy
    • Spain
    • Russia & CIS
    • Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific
    • China
    • Japan
    • India
    • ASEAN
    • South Korea
    • Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa
    • South Africa
    • Egypt
    • Rest of Middle East & Africa

Key Takeaways

  • The report provides extensive analysis of market trends from 2017 to 2026 in order to identify opportunities and market developments
  • It provides comparative analysis of various applications wherein phosphoric acid is used
  • It offers analysis of phosphoric acid production processes
  • The report also includes major production sites of phosphoric acid in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific as well as the list of manufacturers
  • It identifies key factors responsible to build the roadmap for upcoming opportunities for the phosphoric acid market at the global, regional, and country levels
  • The report offers comprehensive analysis with respect to investments and regulatory scenario that would subsequently impact the outlook and forecast for the global phosphoric acid market between 2017 and 2026
  • The report provides detailed competition landscape for key players dominating the market in order to understand competition level
  • Porters’ five forces analysis and SWOT analysis to highlight the power of buyers and suppliers