Potassium Formate: Increasing Environmental Regulations Push Demand

The rising demand for environment-friendly formate brines as a drilling fluid for oil and gas drilling projects continues to push the demand for potassium formate. The use of potassium formate as a de-icing agent, heat transfer fluid, and fertilizer, in various end-use industries, has opened up new avenues for industry manufacturers and suppliers.

Although potassium formate has been used as a drilling agent for a long time, there has been a spurt in R&D activities in recent years. As environmental regulations influence manufacturers across a range of industries to adopt sustainable materials and practices, the adoption of biodegradable materials has witnessed a steady increase. Potassium formate, known for its biodegradable properties, is garnering increased interest, and R&D on its potential applications is gaining traction. Sensing the impact of these developments, Transparency Market Research, in its latest offering, analyzes this landscape in detail, offering readers lucid and analytical information on how growth will unfold in this market space.

The demand for potassium formate has been on the rise due to its myriad uses, especially in de-icing and drilling applications. According to TMR, the global market for potassium formate has been witnessing steady growth in the recent past. With a current value of ~ US$ 615 million, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of ~ 5% through to 2027.

potassium formate market infographic

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Increase in Drilling Activities Creating Sustained Opportunities

Potassium formate industry’s reliance on demand from the oil & gas sector will continue to prevail during the forecast period. In 2018, the oil & gas sector accounted for approximately half of the market revenue share, and this is unlikely to change during the forecast period.

The oil & gas industry is going through a period of resurgence, as supply continues to exceed demand. The sustained period of bullishness in the oil & gas sector has also rubbed off on the drilling activities around the world. 2019 has seen a steady increase in drilling activities, globally, with investments growing across all major regions, except the Middle East. Although this growth will be pervasive, offshore oil & gas drilling activities are likely to grow at a higher rate. The strong momentum in the oil & gas drilling domain can mean a steady stream of demand for potassium formate in 2019 and beyond.

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Ecological Impact of De-icing Solutions Induces Demand for Sustainable Materials

The preference of potassium formate-based brines as a de-icing agent over other solutions has been growing steadily. As of 2018, application as a de-icing agent accounted for ~ 26% revenue share of the market.

Stringent regulations of the aerospace industry enforcing sustainable and environment-friendly solutions for de-icing in Europe have led to potassium formate gradually replacing potassium acetate and urea as the preferred de-icing agent on runways. The municipal and commercial sectors are also being influenced by these developments, with potassium formate-based de-icing solutions being used to lessen the negative impact of road winter de-icing as well. Although a complete shift towards potassium formate-based de-icing agents is expected to be gradual, these developments have led to far greater opportunities for potassium formate manufacturers.

While stringent regulations in Europe are driving the adoption of potassium formate as a de-icing agent, outside of Europe, demand continues to be limited. Current regulations in North America and Asia Pacific mean that, contractors can still use potassium acetate and other affordable de-icing variants. The growing focus on environmental conservation can induce amendments to existing regulations in North America and Asia Pacific – any stringency in regulations will work to the advantage of potassium formate manufacturers and suppliers, especially those catering to the de-icing industry.

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Growing Demand for Non-hazardous Heat Transfer Fluids brings Potassium Formate into Prominence

The applications of potassium formate as a heat-transfer liquid have remained limited. However, owing to the growing focus on sustainability, end-use industries are looking at feasible solutions for heating and cooling processes, and potassium formate is being looked at as a viable option.

With a premium being placed on efficiency, manufacturers are now focusing on potassium formate-based heat transfer fluids to be used in refrigerated systems, in the place of calcium chloride and other brine solutions. Potassium formate-based refrigerated systems are steadily gaining momentum, and with non-toxic and non-hazardous products making their way into the commercial sector, the market is likely to grow at a substantial rate during the forecast period.

Fluctuating Raw Material Prices Limiting Market Growth

The fluctuating prices of the raw materials used for the production of potassium formate have restrained market growth. With stakeholders encountering a constricting supply of raw materials, a slump in the consumption of formic acid has been observed. This, coupled with the seasonal demand for potassium formate, is likely to have a negative impact on the growth of the market.

Winning Imperatives: Key Strategies for Growth

The chemical industry is witnessing a phase of evolution, as it continues to be influenced by a range of myriad, yet interconnected factors. The industry is adapting to developments through strategic moves such as mergers and divestments. For instance, Perstorp Holdings has divested its BioProduct and Caprolactone businesses in the recent past to streamline its portfolio, and focus on high growth and high revenue areas in the specialty chemicals market.

Collaboration for Product Development

The pace of research and development in the application of potassium formate-based de-icing agents has quickened. For instance, SynaTek, in conjunction with BASF, one of the largest de-icing solution manufacturers in North America, has developed, ENTRY - a potassium formate-based de-icing product for commercial and domestic use. It has been marketed as less corrosive, and a readily-biodegradable product providing rapid and reliable results, in comparison to the existing chloride- and acetate-based alternatives. 

Using a derivate of BASF’s formic acid, Naturs Alpine Solutions Industrial (NASi), a major chemical manufacturer in North America, has launched Alpine RF-14F, a de-icing agent for commercial use, marketed as being fast acting and reliable.

Assessment of the Competitive Landscape

The potassium formate market is highly fragmented, with production concentrated in Europe and Asia. With the applications for potassium formate-based agents growing, companies are collaborating, co-innovating, and acquiring players to gain a competitive advantage. Stakeholders are also adopting newer strategies to control operational costs and manufacturing expenses.

Despite the high level of fragmentation, few players continue to hold significant revenue shares in the potassium formate market; Perstorp Holdings, ADDCON, and BASF SE, collectively hold a revenue share of ~ 30%. Considering the nature of the product, a number of regional and local players have minuscule revenue shares. These companies usually meet domestic demand and operate in regions where the regulations are less stringent.

Frontrunners are focusing on expanding their business in the oil & gas industry, catering to the increased demand for potassium formate as a drilling and completion fluid. These companies are focusing on continual R&D to accommodate the divergent needs of safety and efficacy of drilling fluids, of the end users in the oil & gas industry.

potassium formate market segmentation

Analysts’ View of the Market

Authors of TMR’s study on the potassium formate market estimate global revenue to grow at a CAGR of ~ 5% during the forecast period of 2019-2027, and have a positive outlook on the growth of the market. Sustainability - a trend that has transformed an array of industries - will have a massive influence on the strategies of stakeholders.

Success in the potassium formate market will depend upon manufacturers focusing on expanding their presence in international markets. Though potassium formate is more expensive than its alternatives used in various industries, manufacturers can capitalize on its environment-friendly nature to attract more customers and improve their sales performance. Market players will also have to adapt to the evolving landscape by aligning their strategies to collaborate with other chemical manufacturing companies that mainly focus on the production of sustainable de-icers and drilling fluids.

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Potassium Formate Market Description

  • The oil & gas sector is a significant consumer of potassium formate brines. Drilling and exploration activities have increased over the last few years. Rise in drilling activities and growth in rig counts are projected to drive the potassium formate market during the forecast period.
  • Potassium formate brines are incorporated in drilling in high pressure high temperature (HPHT) oil wells, as these are environment-friendly and improve polymer stability. Their use as drilling and completion fluids is projected to rise during the forecast period.
  • Airports and municipal consumers of de-icers are gradually switching toward cost- effective products that are less damaging to the environment. This is projected to drive the potassium formate market during the forecast period.

Key Growth Drivers of the Potassium Formate Market

  • Potassium formate is widely used in drilling fluids. It provides high density, which is required for deep well drilling. It has higher solubility in water than any other formate and is environmentally safe.
  • Potassium formate clear brines are environment-friendly, since they are biodegradable. They are more environmentally suitable vis-à-vis halide-based fluids.
  • According to the lifecycle assessment of potassium formate brines, 56% to 57% of formate brine can be recovered for reuse in oil & gas drilling operations. This is anticipated to drive the demand for potassium formate during the forecast period

Lucrative Opportunities for the Global Potassium Formate Market

  • Potassium formate can be used as a foliar fertilizer. This can be helpful in Sub-Saharan areas where fertilizers are essential to make the soil fertile. Therefore, agricultural applications are anticipated to create immense opportunities for the potassium formate market during the forecast period.

Europe a Prominent Potassium Formate Market

  • In terms of value, Europe accounted for a prominent share of the global potassium formate market in 2018. This can be attributed to the high demand for potassium formate in the oil & gas industry and as a de-icing agent. He demand for potassium formate is projected to rise at a sluggish pace during the forecast period. The demand for potassium formate in Germany is likely to increase at a considerable pace during the forecast period, due to the increase in the usage of potassium formate as a de-icing fluid in the country.
  • North America and Asia Pacific are other prominent consumers of potassium formate across the globe. Potassium formate is increasingly used for de-icing in North America, while it is employed majorly in oil & gas applications in India.
  • The demand for potassium formate in Mexico is anticipated to rise at a rapid pace during the forecast period. Growth in investments in the oil & gas sector and expansion of the manufacturing industry in Mexico are estimated to propel the demand for potassium formate in Mexico during the forecast period. The demand for potassium formate in the Middle East & Africa is projected to rise at a rapid pace, due to the increase in the usage of potassium formate in the oil & gas industry in the region.

Liquid Form to Account for a Prominent Share

  • In terms of solid form, potassium formate is available as white crystalline powder that is hygroscopic in nature. Liquid potassium formate is available in the form of a solution in water, termed as potassium brine. Potassium brine is a clear liquid with high density.
  • Solid potassium formate is produced from liquid potassium formate through evaporation and drying. However, this is primarily done for easy transportation and storage.
  • Potassium formate is extensively employed in the form of brine. The powder produced is converted into a solution by dissolving it in water. Therefore, the liquid segment is anticipated to continue to dominate the market during the forecast period.

Oil & Gas Industry Offers Growth Opportunities

  • The oil & gas segment accounted for a prominent share of the global potassium formate market in 2018. The segment is estimated to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period, owing to the increase in the demand for potassium formate as a drilling fluid as an alternative for halide-based and water-based drilling fluids.
  • The de-icing segment held a key share of the market in 2018. The segment is likely to expand at a considerable pace during the forecast period. Potassium formate is increasingly used as a de-icing agent for runways and in the municipal and commercial sectors, as it is environment-friendly and bio-degradable.
  • In terms of demand, the heat transfer fluids application segment constituted a small share of the market in 2018. The segment is estimated to expand at a moderate pace during the forecast period, owing to the growth in chemical and manufacturing industries that use heat transfer fluids.

Leading Players Actively Engage in Joint Ventures and R&D Activities

  • Key players operating in the global potassium formate market include-
    • Perstorp Holdings
    • ADDCON
    • BASF SE
    • ESSECO UK Limited
    • Chongqing Chuandong Chemical (Group)Co., Ltd
    • Kemira Oyj
    • Cabot Corporation
  • In June 2014, Perstop Holdings acquired pentaerythritol, penta, and calcium formate businesses from Chemko A.S. Strážske, a Slovenia-based producer of chemicals. The move was a part of Perstorp’s investment plan to increase its production capacity of polyol.
  • In 2017, SynaTek, a leading producer of anti-icing solutions, created a biodegradable de-icing product known as Entry, for usage in commercial and residential applications. It is a potassium formate based de-icing fluid produced using formic acid from BASF SE. BASF SE is the only producer of formic acid in North America. Some of the manufacturers of de-icing liquids use formic acid produced by BASF SE.

A research study published by Transparency Market Research provides readers with a comprehensive outlook of the global potassium formate market, to precisely gauge its futuristic development. It assesses the potassium formate industry on the historical and current scenario, and also includes a forecast for 2019 through to 2027. The report is designed to help key stakeholders make business decisions pertaining to the potassium formate market with the help of key findings and insights provided on the drivers, restraints, threats, and opportunities expected to impact the potassium formate market during the forecast period.

This report offers extensive dynamics about the different nuances of the potassium formate market, to assist companies operating within the market make winning decisions. The potassium formate market report also consists of Porter’s Five Forces Analysis and a value chain analysis, as well as qualitative and quantitative data, so as to help readers gauge the future trajectory of progression of the potassium formate market.

TMR’s study also offers detailed insights into the key trends and developments made by important leaders and players in the potassium formate market, along with a detailed taxonomy and competitive analysis. This report also presents company profiles and players who are currently operating in the potassium formate market, and the strategies that they have been following.

Key Segments of the Potassium Formate Market

This study by Transparency Market Research on the potassium formate market categorizes the information into three segments: form, application, and region. Readers will find data on how the changing trends can have an impact on the dynamics and evolution of the potassium formate market.





Oil and Gas

North America





Heat Transfer

Asia Pacific


Others (Food Additives, Flame Retardants, Agriculture)

Middle East and Africa



Latin America

This report provides information about the potassium formate market across five regions: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, and Latin America, both, by form and by application.

Key Questions Answered in this Report

The report offers extensive data on the potassium formate market, on the basis of detailed research on various factors influencing the growth of the market. The report answers game-changing questions, helping companies currently operating and looking to make a mark in the industry, to help them create strategies for progression.

  • What are the drivers and deterrents in the potassium formate market?
  • What are the opportunities that present themselves to stakeholders in the potassium formate market?
  • What are the various global trends that are prevalent in the global potassium formate market?
  • Which regions are likely to provide profitable avenues for players in the potassium formate market?
  • What will be the Y-o-Y growth of the potassium formate market between 2019 and 2027?
  • How will the potassium formate market evolve during the forecast period?

Research Methodology

The research methodology followed by TMR for this report on the potassium formate market consists of primary and secondary research, with the former in greater proportion. Sources for both included, but are not limited to interviews with opinion leaders, company websites, annual reports, research papers and journals, and paid data bases as well.

Access to an extensive internal repository and external proprietary databases allows for this report to address specific details and questions about the potassium formate market with accuracy. The report also uses a top-down approach to assess the numbers for each segment, and a bottom-up approach to counter-validate them. The analysts’ conclusions that have been presented in the report on how the potassium formate market is set to grow are based on exclusive and precise insights from these vetted primary and secondary sources.