Potassium Sulphate Market – Global Industry Insights, Trends, Outlook, and Opportunity Analysis, 2016–2024

Potassium sulphate, commonly known as sulphate of potash (SOP), is a water soluble white crystalline salt that finds wide application in the pharmaceuticals industry. In the food industry, potassium sulphate is used as a source of macronutrients potassium and sulphate. Increasing use of potassium sulphate in the food industry as flavoring agent and as an adjuvant has resulted in rampant growth of the potassium sulphate market in the recent past. Potassium sulphate used in food industry is manufactured in accordance with the “Food Chemicals Codex” regulation implemented by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Potassium sulphate is commonly used in the agriculture industry as a fertilizer for sensitive crops such as flowers, fruits & vegetables, tobacco, turf & ornamentals, among others. Use of potassium sulphate as a fertilizer results in improved quality of agricultural produce, enhanced nutritional value of fruits & vegetables, and is a nitrogen-free source of potassium, as growers find it difficult to match the nitrogen input required for the growth of crops. The increased demand for food has resulted in burgeoning growth of the agricultural industry, which in turn fuels demand for fertilizers to provide quality of agricultural products. Asia-Pacific is the largest consumer of potassium sulphate for agricultural application.

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Global Potassium Sulphate Market Taxonomy

The global potassium sulphate market is classified on the basis of the following segments:

  • Process

    • Mannheim Process

    • Sulphate Salts Reaction

    • Brine Processing

    • Others

  • Application

    • Agriculture

    • Industrial

    • Pharmaceutical

    • Cosmetics

    • Food

    • Others

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Prevalent Scenario in Potassium Sulphate Market

Growing consumption of potassium sulphate as a feedstock for procuring macronutrients, ingredients, activator and nutrient salt across various industries is fueling growth of the potassium sulphate market. The potassium sulphate products offered by the manufacturers are in line with current trend of applications of the products such as in specialty fertilizers, lubricants for wire drawing, production of insulin, and extraction of precious metals such as biobleaching.

Potassium sulphate is incorporated into wide range of pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food applications. These are in turn governed by various regulatory bodies, especially in U.S. and Europe, to human health safety. Potassium sulphate is used as an ingredient in food industry in accordance to the level specified by FDA in section 184.1 (b) (1) and the maximum percentage of potassium sulphate used in non-alcoholic beverages is 0.015 which is defined by FDA in section 170.3 (n) (3).

Safety of the products is a major concern as potassium sulphate used as ingredient in manufacturing the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food products can have adverse allergic reactions. As the pharmaceutical & personal care, food industry is expanding, there increasing number studies carried on safety of these products and are regulated by related authorities which has become a tasks for the manufacturers to keep updated and aware of the ingredient used in these products. The companies are therefore manufacturing grades of potassium sulphate products which can be used for specific applications. For instance, American Elements (U.S.) manufactures technical grade, food grade, agriculture grade, pharmaceutical grade of potassium sulphate products.

Potassium sulphate is manufactured by extraction of potassium and sulphate ions from natural ores or brines by evaporation or chemical methods. The common methods used for extraction of potassium sulphate are salt lake brine processing, sulphate salts reaction and Mannheim process. Potassium salt derived by the process of salt lake brine processing is cheap as compared to other methods. The average manufacturing cost of potassium sulphate by salt lakes brine processing is approximately US$ 200/ ton, the average cost of production by sulphate salts reaction is US$ 300/ton and the average cost of production by Mannheim process is US$ 400 to 550/ton. Potassium sulphate manufactured by Mannheim process holds for approximately 50% to 60% of the global supply of potassium sulphate, potassium sulphate manufactured by sulphate salts reaction holds a share of 25% to 30% and salt lake brine processing holds a share of 15% to 20% of the global supply of potassium sulphate. Companies such as Great Salt Minerals Corporation (U.S.), SDIC Xinjiang Luobupo Potash (China) use salt lake brine processing method, K+S Kali Gmbh (Germany), Rusal (Russia) utilize sulphate salts reaction process and Tessenderlo Group (Belgium) use Mannheim process to manufacture potassium sulphate.

Fragmented Market

The Global potassium sulphate market is highly fragmented due to the participation of many established and emerging players in the industry. Major players involved in the market include K+G Kali Gmbh (Germany), Tessenderlo Group (Belgium), Great Salt Minerals Corporation (U.S.), SDIC Xinjiang Luobupo Potash (China), SQM (Chile), Yara International (Norway), Rusal (Russia), Compass Minerals (U.S.), Guotou Xinjiang LuoBuPo Potassium Salt (China), Sesoda (Taiwan)

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