Petrochemical (Petroleum and Chemical) Catalysts: The U.S. Market

Published - Jan 2011| Analyst - Charles Forman| Code - CHM027D
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Report Highlights

Catalysts for chemical, petrochemical, and petroleum refining processes constitute a significant business in the United States. BCC estimates total merchant sales of these products in the U.S. in 2010 at about $4.1 billion. The total U.S. market value is forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 2.5% to reach more than $4.6 billion by 2015.

Report Scope

This study covers many of the most important technological, economic, political, and environmental considerations in the U.S. catalyst industry. It is primarily a study of U.S. markets, but because of the global nature of chemistry, it touches on some noteworthy international activities; these are primarily those that can have an impact on the U.S. market, such as imports/exports and, increasingly, foreign firms that operate there.

All market value estimates and forecasts are given in constant 2010 dollars, and growth rates are all compounded, presented as compounded annual growth rates or CAGRs. Market values are all rounded to the nearest million dollars. Because of rounding to the nearest million, some growth rates may not agree exactly with figures in the market tables, especially for small values.

This report is segmented into nine chapters, of which this is the first, and an appendix including a glossary of some important terms, abbreviations, acronyms, etc.

The Summary encapsulates our findings and conclusions and includes a summary major market table of estimates ad forecasts. It is the place where the busy executive can find the major findings of the study in summary format.

We follow with an Overview of catalysis and catalysts with some history of the principal types of catalysts and catalytic reactions, and processes and materials used to produce catalysts. Its intent is to introduce the reader to the field of chemical catalysis.

The next chapter discusses and forecasts markets for catalysts used in chemical processes; that is, processes that usually do not take place in a petroleum refinery. We subdivide the market into catalysts for six large classes of catalytic chemical reactions: hydrogenation, dehydrogenation, organic synthesis, oxidation, polymerization, and synthesis gas/syngas processes. Our market analysis and forecast is for base year 2010 and forecast year 2015, all in constant 2010 dollars.

Next we discuss and forecast the markets for catalysts used in petroleum refining. Processes analyzed and forecasted include the six basic classes of catalytic refining processes: alkylation, fluid catalytic cracking (FCC), hydrocracking, hydrotreating/ desulfurization, isomerization, and catalytic reforming. In addition, we cover gas processing, usually devoted to sulfur removal.

The next chapter is devoted to catalyst technologies, with emphasis on both established and new catalyst technologies. These continue to be exciting times in catalysts, for example, with continuing development of more homogeneous catalysts, development and fine-tuning of single-site catalysts for polymerization of major plastics, chiral catalysts for fine chemical syntheses, and others.

The next chapter covers some important facets of government regulation and public policy. Catalysts are not as regulated as many other industries are, since they are not supposed to be in final products, but political forces have driven the petroleum refining industry for years and continue to do so until this day, with greater emphasis on cleaner burning fuels. For this reason our prime discussion is on governmental regulations regarding refined motor fuels, both gasoline and diesel.

The next chapter covers the structure and activities of the catalyst industry, with emphasis on the major domestic producers and suppliers, customer service, and the growing trend in supplier-user alliances. We briefly discuss some international aspects of the catalyst business, including the global nature of the business, major foreign-owned supplier companies that operate in the United States, and imports and exports.

Our last narrative chapter consists of profiles of those supplier companies that BCC Research considers to be among the most important in these businesses. There are many more companies that operate in one or more niche markets, but in our opinion they are not important enough to be considered major producers and suppliers.

We end with an appendix, a glossary of some important terms, abbreviations, acronyms, etc. used in the chemical, petroleum, and catalyst industries.

The scope of this study is restricted to catalysts used in the chemical process industry (CPI) in process operations. We define the CPI broadly to include petroleum refining (an industry sometimes called the hydrocarbon processing industry or HPI). By confining our study to process catalysts, we do not cover a major market, one that has many studies on its own, of environmental catalysts, primarily for air pollution control. Because such environmental catalysts are chemical catalysts, we do introduce them and their applications in the Overview chapter; however, we do not make market estimates or forecasts for environmental catalysts since they are outside the scope of this study.

Since this study focuses on chemical catalysts, we also exclude from our market analyses biocatalysts (such as enzymes), electrocatalysts, photocatalysts (catalysts that allow light or other waves in the electromagnetic spectrum to influence reactions and processes), and other exotic ideas such as sonocatalysts (high-frequency ultrasound waves that generate heat and pressure). These are all exciting fields of study, but are outside the scope of this report. We do introduce some of these ideas in the Technology chapter.

Thus, please note that there are some new and exciting areas of catalysis, discussed in the Overview and/or Technology chapters, which are either (1) outside the scope of this study (e.g., environmental catalysts) or (2) new, cutting-edge technologies like photocatalysts, which are too new and small to attempt to analyze and forecast. The products and markets that we analyze and for which we estimate and forecast sales are those in the chapters on commercial catalysts for chemical and refinery processes.

For consistency in style and format, trade names are indicated by initial upper case letters, while generic names are all in lower case. Because many chemical names are long and complicated, we often use abbreviations, acronyms, or chemical formulae. Many of these acronyms, such as HDPE (high-density polyethylene) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) for common polymers, are in capital letters.

Chemical elements and compounds can all be designated by chemical symbols and formulae; after introducing the element or compound we often use such symbols, such as Ni for nickel and HF for hydrofluoric acid. Our glossary at the end contains definitions and explanations for many of the most important abbreviations and acronyms. We do assume that most readers have had at least an initial introduction to chemistry and understand the principles of chemical nomenclature.

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Published - Jan-2006| Analyst - Charles Forman| Code - CHM027C

Report Highlights

  • Total sales in the U.S. in 2005 for petrochemical catalysts was $4.6 billion and is expected to rise at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 3.0% to almost $5.4 billion in 2010.
  • All types of chemical catalysts totaled $1.10 billion in 2005, growing at an annual rate of about 3.2%.
  • Petroleum refining catalysts are a smaller, current market at $847 million sales in 2005, predicted to grow at a 3.2% AAGR to $1 billion in 2010.
  • Polymerization is the largest chemical catalyst segment with a market of about $810 million and the fastest growing. Growth in petroleum catalysts is spurred by increasing demand for reformulated and other lesspolluting gasolines mandated by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

Published - Jul-2001| Analyst - Charles Forman| Code - CHM027B

Report Highlights

  • Total U.S. merchant sales of catalysts for chemical and petroleum refining processes are estimated at about $2.2 billion in 2000.
  • The total U.S. market value is expected to increase at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 3.9% to $2.659 billion by 2005.
  • The chemical catalysts segment is estimated at just under $1.1 billion in 2000 and, growing at an AAGR of 4.1%, is expected to exceed $1.3 billion in 2005.
  • Petroleum refining catalysts are a slightly bigger current market at $1.125 billion in 2000. This segment is predicted to grow at a 3.7% AAGR to about $1.35 billion in 2005.
  • Growth in the petroleum refining segment is spurred by increasing demand for less-polluting gasolines mandated by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, plus new regulations calling for drastic reductions in sulfur content in gasolines and diesel fuel.

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