Hydrous aluminosilicate minerals with a porous structure and numerous physicochemical properties are known as natural zeolites. Natural zeolites exhibit properties such as cation exchange, catalysis, sorption and molecular sieving, among others. Conventional mining methods are employed in mining natural zeolites and on the production front, not much advanced technologies are observed. Natural zeolites are highly prominent in several applications owing to their natural and abundant occurrence worldwide. Water & wastewater treatment industry largely employs the natural zeolites and a healthy growth is anticipated in the market over the forecast period.
Natural Zeolite Market: Dynamics
One of the most appealing end use segment for natural zeolites is analyzed to be the construction segment. The constant rise in the demand for light – weight products has been noted from the construction industry. Natural zeolite is added during the manufacturing of concrete because it not only amends the weight of concrete but has also proven to enhance its fire resistance, sound absorption and reducing its thermal expansion. The use of natural zeolites as a soil stabilizer is also prevalent among its applications and is anticipated to fuel the market over the course of the forecast period. Rising environmental concerns over water treatment, including wastewater, groundwater and grey water, are anticipated to maintain a high demand for natural zeolites. The controlled release of nutritional ingredients, such as potassium, is leading to a higher demand for natural zeolites in the agriculture and horticulture end uses. The ability of natural zeolites to retain water also helps the fertilizer manufacturers to offer a versatile product to the agriculture sector.
One of the prominent restraint in the natural zeolite market is the time scale required for the formation of natural zeolite. Comparatively, synthetic zeolite can be synthesized in a matter of hours or days whereas natural zeolite requires years or millions of years to occur naturally. Additionally, the natural zeolites occur along with quartz, clay and other materials causing impurity. On the other hand, synthetic zeolites can be prepared in laboratories with ultra – high purity. One of the biggest advantage of natural zeolites over its synthetic counterpart is the high quantity that they can be mined as compared to the low volumes produced in the lab scale. Among other obstacles, a significant impact has been observed on the natural zeolite market by the substitutes in its several applications. Products such as bentonite and perlite are noted to be used as an alternative to natural zeolites. However, being relatively economical, natural zeolites are anticipated to witness a healthy growth in the market over the forecast peiod.
Much recently, natural zeolites have been employed in the adsorption of leaks from the radioactive materials. This assists the authorities and personnel to better manage the radioactive wastes and accidents. Research and development in developing wider fields of application for natural zeolite can augment the short term future growth of the market. Some of the novel research areas for natural zeolites include biomedical and biochemical applications.
Natural Zeolite Market: Segmentation
The global natural zeolite market can be segmented on the basis of product type, application and end use.
On the basis of product type, the global natural zeolite market can be segmented into:
- Pelletized Natural Zeolite
- Granular Natural Zeolite
- Powder Natural Zeolite
On the basis of application, the global natural zeolite market can be segmented into:
- Odor Control
- Flocculating Agent
- Soil Stabilizer
- Animal Feed
On the basis of end use, the global natural zeolite market can be segmented into:
- Water & Wastewater
- Chemical & Petrochemical
- Agriculture & Horticulture
- Other Industrial
Natural Zeolite Market: Regional Outlook
Regionally, the natural zeolites market is highly concentrated in East Asia, especially China. China is noted to remain one of the world’s largest producer and consumer of natural zeolites. Countries such as South Korea and New Zealand also mine a significant amount of natural zeolites. On the consumption front, the East Asia natural zeolites market is followed by the South Asia market. North America is expected to showcase a higher y-o-y growth with the consumption of natural zeolites standing in line with its production in the region. The rest of the world, including Europe, are expected to upsurge their natural zeolite consumption at a moderate pace.
Some of the market participants in the global natural zeolite market identified across the value chain include Blue Pacific Minerals, DP “Transcarpathian Zeolite Plant”, International Zeolite Corp., KMI Zeolite Inc., Rota Mining Corp., St. Cloud Mining Company, Bear River Zeolite Co., Zeocem, a.s., Zeotech Corporation, D&W Corporation