Lignosulfonates Market: Snapshot

Lignosulfonates are one of the abundantly available wood chemicals. They are commonly obtained as by-products during sulfite processing of wood pulp. Lignosulfonates are primary anionic polyelectrolytes that are easily soluble in water. They are natural anionic surfactants with high molecular weight. Lignosulfonates are primarily used in the ceramics, construction, chemicals, oil & gas, and animal feed additives industries. They are also employed in organic polymerization.

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Lignosulfonates are employed as oil well additives in the oil & gas industry. Oil in water emulsions plays an important role in oil well drilling fluids. Lignosulfonate, a prominent stabilizing agent, has been used successfully for several years to stabilize emulsions as the lignosulfonate molecule is adsorbed at the oil-water interface, establishing a high order electrokinetic charge and also a semi-rigid film. Production of oil stood at more than 23 million barrels per day in Middle East & Africa in 2010 and is projected to increase to 28 million barrels per day by 2024. Rise in oil well exploration in the U.S. and Middle East & Africa is anticipated to propel the lignosulfonates market. However, the oil well additives segment is estimated to expand at a moderate pace owing to the availability of economical substitutes. Shale gas exploration is projected to present opportunities for the expansion of the global lignosulfonates market. Lignosulfonates are employed extensively during oil and gas field exploration in the oil & gas industry. Stabilization of shale is a challenging task due to the presence of water-sensitive montmorillonite in shale. Sodium ammoniated lignosulfonate inhibits the swelling of montmorillonite in water. It enhances the viscosity of water-based drilling fluids at low temperatures and reduces the viscosity at relatively high temperatures. Furthermore, the filtration loss of mud decreases after the addition of sodium ammoniated lignosulfonate (NaALS). This can benefit the stabilization of shale.

Lignosulfonates Market: Segmentation

The lignosulfonates market can be segmented based on product, application, and region. Based on product the lignosulfonates market can be classified into calcium lignosulfonate, sodium lignosulfonate, magnesium lignosulfonate, and others (ammonium lignosulfonate, chrome lignosulfonate, etc.) Sodium lignosulfonate is the most commercialized lignosulfonate. It is primarily used as an economical plasticizer in concrete admixtures and pellet binder in animal feed. Sodium lignosulfonate is expected to be a rapidly expanding segment of the lignosulfonates market, primarily in developing countries in Asia Pacific, due to the high demand for sodium lignosulfonate in the construction industry. Calcium lignosulfonate is preferred in animal feeds and oil well additives. It is also a highly commercialized type of lignosulfonate. Magnesium lignosulfonate is primarily employed in animal feed applications owing to its antimicrobial and preservative properties, which are similar to those of sodium lignosulfonate and calcium lignosulfonate. Furthermore, magnesium lignosulfonate is used as substitute for conventional chloride materials in dust control applications. The others segment includes ammonium lignosulfonate, chrome lignosulfonate, potassium lignosulfonate, and ferrochrome lignosulfonate. Consumption of these types of lignosulfonates is not as high as the consumption of other types mentioned above. Therefore, demand for other lignosulfonates is low in the market.

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In terms of application, the lignosulfonates market can be divided into oil well additives, concrete additives, animal feed binders, dust control, and others. Lignosulfonates are used extensively as water-reducing admixtures. These, in turn, are used in the construction of strong and high-grade infrastructure. Demand for lignosulfonates as a concrete admixture is expected to increase as they boost the density of cement paste by reducing the amount of water used in the cement. Increase in demand for lignosulfonates as water-reducing agents is one of the key factors driving the lignosulfonates market. Lignosulfonates are used as effective animal feed binders as they balance the beneficial bacteria in animals, provide essential nutrients to improve their gastrointestinal health, and improve feed efficacy, which helps increase animal body weight. High demand for lignosulfonates from the animal feed binders segment in Europe and North America is expected to propel the lignosulfonates market, which is projected to expand at a CAGR of 3.7% between 2017 and 2025. The demand for water-reducing chemicals is extremely high in regions such as APAC and MEA, owing to high temperatures. Lignosulfonates are primarily used as water-reducing agents in concrete admixtures to strengthen cement, thus propelling demand from the concrete additives segment. In fact, they can also be mixed with other water-reducing chemicals in concrete admixtures as per the requirement. The oil well additives segment held a minimal share of the lignosulfonates market in 2016. Demand for lignosulfonates as oil well additives is expected to rise at a moderate pace during the forecast period.

Based on region, Europe is a prominent region of the global lignosulfonates market. The region accounted for a major share of the global lignosulfonates market in 2016. Expansion in the residential sector and rise in construction activities in Europe are driving the construction industry in the region. Europe is a leading region of the animal feed industry, led by the presence of large-scale animal feed companies and high production rate of animal feed. Thus, demand for lignosulfonates is high in the region. Asia Pacific is expected to lead the global market during the forecast period due to increase in demand for concrete admixtures in the region. Middle East & Africa is projected to follow Asia Pacific, owing to the rise in demand for sodium lignosulfonate in concrete admixtures and oil well additives in the region. Lucrative applications and expansion in end-user industries in developing countries are projected to boost the attractiveness of the lignosulfonate market during the forecast period.

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Key players operating in the lignosulfonates market include Borregaard, Tembec Inc. (Rayonier Advanced Materials), Burgo Group, Wuhan Xinyingda Chemicals Co. Ltd., and Shenyang Xingzhenghe Chemical Co. Ltd.

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