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  • Published In : May 2024
  • Code : CMI7007
  • Pages :136
  • Formats :
      Excel and PDF
  • Industry : Bulk Chemicals

Market Size and Trends

The sulfur hexafluoride market is estimated to be valued at USD 305.8 Mn in 2024 and is expected to reach USD 462.9 Mn by 2031, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% from 2024 to 2031.

Sulfur Hexafluoride Market Key Factors

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The global sulfur hexafluoride market is expected to witness robust growth over the forecast period. There is an increasing adoption of sulfur hexafluoride in electrical utilities as an insulating medium in gas-insulated switchgears, circuit breakers, and other electrical equipment. As sulfur hexafluoride offers excellent insulation properties and the ability to extinguish arc formation, its demand from the electrical utilities sector is expected to increase significantly. Additionally, growing investments towards the expansion of transmission and distribution networks across developed as well as developing economies will further drive the demand for insulating gas switches and voltage transformers, thereby fueling the consumption of sulfur hexafluoride. However, stringent regulations regarding its high global warming potential may hinder the market growth to some extent over the next few years.

Use of Sulfur Hexafluoride in Electrical Equipment

Sulfur hexafluoride finds major application as an insulating medium in electrical equipment owing to its superior dielectric properties. Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is widely used as an insulating and arc-interrupting medium in high-voltage circuit breakers, switchgears, and other gas-insulated equipment. Some key advantages of utilizing SF6 in such electrical applications include its high dielectric strength, chemical inertness, thermal stability, and non-toxic nature. SF6 provides excellent insulation properties due to its strong electron affinity which results in dense electron clouds around the sulfur atom. This effectively blocks any electron flow even under high electric fields. Additionally, SF6 is able to rapidly absorb free electrons owing to its electron capture ability, thereby effectively interrupting any arc formation. These dielectric characteristics allow for compact and lightweight switchgear designs as lesser space is required for insulation compared to other insulating mediums like air. SF6 also enhances safety as it does not support combustion. Over the past few decades, the demand for electricity has risen tremendously globally in tandem with industrialization and economic growth. This has necessitated greater investments in modernizing and expanding transmission and distribution infrastructure. Given the advantages mentioned above, more and more SF6 is being utilized in high-voltage equipment that forms the backbone of power grids worldwide. Manufacturers are also incorporating SF6 in medium-voltage switchgears and circuit breakers used in commercial and industrial facilities. Strong investments towards reinforcing and upgrading aging power networks in developing nations will further augment the need for SF6 insulated apparatus.

Market Concentration and Competitive Landscape

Sulfur Hexafluoride Market Concentration By Players

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Growing Usage of Renewable Energy

With the global focus shifting towards reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to cleaner sources of energy, the utilization of renewable energy has increased substantially in recent times. Many countries have formulated long-term targets and policy incentives to expand their renewable power capacity, especially from wind and solar sources. Due to their intermittent and fluctuating nature, the integration of such variable renewable energy into conventional power grids presents some technical challenges. SF6 finds widespread employment in gas-insulated switchgear installed at renewable energy plants and substations that evacuate this power into transmission networks. The steady-state switching and current interrupting properties of SF6 allow it to reliably and efficiently handle the varying load flows arising from renewable power generation. SF6 circuit breakers are capable of quickly responding to faults and disruptions while maintaining stable transmission voltages.

Key Takeaways of Analyst:

The sulfur hexafluoride market is poised to grow at a steady rate over the next five years. The power and energy industry remains the largest end user of SF6 and rising investments in grid infrastructure globally will drive demand. Countries are upgrading their transmission and distribution networks to integrate more renewable energy which uses SF6 as an insulator in gas insulated switchgears.

Stringent environmental regulations around SF6 can restrain market expansion. Being a potent greenhouse gas with GHG emissions thousands of times more effective than CO2, governments are imposing penalties on emission levels.

Equipment OEMs are responding by improving containment practices and investing in leakage detection systems to reduce emissions. Alternative gases with lower global warming potential are also in development phase but are yet to match SF6 performance.

Market Challenges: Stringent regulations regarding the production and use

Strict regulations on the production and use of sulfur hexafluoride are posing challenges for the growth of the sulfur hexafluoride market. Sulfur hexafluoride is a greenhouse gas that has high global warming potential and can significantly contribute to climate change if released into the atmosphere. To curb its impact, many countries and international bodies have framed stringent norms regarding its manufacturing, consumption and emissions.

 Market Opportunities: Development of new applications in medical imaging equipment

The development of new applications using sulfur hexafluoride in medical imaging equipment presents a major growth opportunity for the SF6 market. SF6 allows for much higher resolution imaging compared to traditional technologies due to its electron-density and ability to eliminate interference. It is increasingly being used as an insulator in newer CT scanners and MRI machines to improve the clarity of scans. This helps physicians detect diseases in earlier and more treatable stages. As population’s age and lifestyle diseases rise globally, the demand for advanced medical imaging will surge. Within medical imaging applications, innovations in SF6 enabled areas like interventional radiology hold much potential. Interventional radiology combines imaging guidance with minimally invasive procedures to diagnose and treat diseases. It is less risky than conventional surgery for many patients. As novel procedures utilizing tools like catheters, wires, and balloons are developed in this domain, the use of SF6 for high-resolution imaging support is also likely to proliferate. The safe completion of intricate interventions depends on clear visualization, favoring growing SF6 incorporation. The upcoming years may witness technological leaps through greater Industry-academia research collaborations on devising new interventional techniques. This will create significant tailwinds for sulfur hexafluoride uptake within the lucrative medical imaging vertical.

Sulfur Hexafluoride Market By Grade

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Insights by Grade: Standard Grade Holds Dominance Due to Critical Industries Reliance

The standard grade segment is expected to account for 81.3% share of the global sulfur hexafluoride market in 2024. This segment caters to industries where reliability and consistency are of high importance. Standard grade sulfur hexafluoride is best suited for applications where minimal variations in composition and performance are required over the product's lifespan. Industries that rely heavily on standard grade sulfur hexafluoride include electrical distribution and circuit breakers. Electrical distribution networks use large volumes of sulfur hexafluoride as an insulation medium in gas-insulated switchgear and electrical transmission lines. Maintaining consistent dielectric properties over decades is critical to ensuring uninterrupted power supply and minimizing hazardous failures. Standard grade sulfur hexafluoride adequately fulfills this need through its stable and predictable properties. Circuit breakers similarly depend on sulfur hexafluoride to rapidly quench arcs during switching operations in a controlled manner. Even minor fluctuations in the gas's insulating or quenching abilities could compromise circuit breaker performance and safety. Standard grade sulfur hexafluoride eliminates this risk through tight composition controls. Its consistent behavior allows circuit breakers to deliver repetitive, high-accuracy switching for several years without re-qualification.  Medical device sterilization is another sizable application area. The need for guaranteed and uniform sterilization cycles leaves no room for performance variations in sulfur hexafluoride. Standard grade gas effectively meets this stringent quality requirement. Its reliable dielectric strength and pressure-related properties ensure thorough and repeatable penetration of medical tools and equipment. Owing to the critical nature of these industries and their inherent requirements of dependability, the standard grade segment maintains pole position in the sulfur hexafluoride market. Its ability to deliver performance stability over the long-term makes it preferred for high-consequence applications. This drives its larger consumption volume compared to other grades.

Insights by Application: Power & Energy Dominates Due to Extensive Grid Infrastructure

The power & energy industry consumes more sulfur hexafluoride than any other end-use sectors. The segment is expected to account for 36.7% of the market share in 2024. This segment currently leads the application landscape owing to sulfur hexafluoride's widespread deployment across electric utility infrastructure worldwide. Electricity grids rely on gas-insulated switchgear, circuit breakers, and transmission lines on a massive scale. Sulfur hexafluoride serves as the ideal insulating gas for these critical components due to its dielectric strength, arc-quenching, non-toxic, and non-flammable properties. As power generation and distribution networks continue expanding globally to meet rising energy demands, the need for sulfur hexafluoride is also growing proportionately. Developing nations undergoing rapid electrification and grid modernization especially contribute to power & energy segment growth. Countries investing heavily in transmission and distribution systems require large deliveries of sulfur hexafluoride to fully outfit new substations and switchyards. Their significant infrastructure spending directly boosts gas consumption.  Moreover, grids in developed markets also drive considerable sulfur hexafluoride usage through asset replacement and retrofitting programs. Aging equipment is continually being upgraded or retired, each time presenting opportunities for more sulfur hexafluoride to fill revamped facilities. Periodic system overhauls and capacity additions further augment utility sector demand. With electricity set to remain a primary energy carrier worldwide, ongoing development of robust power infrastructure virtually guarantees the segment's market supremacy for the foreseeable future. Sulfur hexafluoride is irreplaceable in utility networks, cementing its importance to the power & energy industry.

Regional Insights

Sulfur Hexafluoride Market Regional Insights

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North America has established itself as the dominant regional market for sulfur hexafluoride. The market is expected to account for 37.7% of the market share in 2024. This can be attributed to several factors contributing to its leadership position. The region is home to numerous large-scale manufacturing facilities engaged in electrical equipment production. As SF6 finds widespread usage as an insulating media in high-voltage equipment, its consumption is directly linked to the scale and growth of the electrical sector. Being the largest economy in the world, North America attracts major investments in grid modernization and expansion projects, driving the regional SF6 market.  Another factor for North America's dominance is the presence of leading SF6 manufacturers such as Solvay and Kanto Denka Kogyo. These suppliers have an extensive production network and distribution channels well-established across the region to serve the needs of utility companies, electrical equipment OEMs and other end-users. Their in-depth expertise in developing SF6-based equipment and after-sales support further strengthens North America's position. The region also regulates imports through specific guidelines for handling SF6, ensuring product quality and sustainability in applications.

The Asia Pacific region has emerged as the fastest growing market for sulfur hexafluoride globally. Rapid industrialization and urbanization have fueled massive infrastructure growth across developing nations like China and India. To power this economic development, Asian countries are aggressively expanding and upgrading their power grid infrastructure which demands significant volumes of SF6. With a population of over 4 billion, Asia Pacific possesses a huge customer base for all types of electrical equipment. Local SF6 manufacturers are also growing to fulfill this burgeoning regional demand. Sustained economic progress and government commitments to establish 'super grids' are projected to maintain Asia Pacific's momentum as the market with the highest SF6 usage going forward.

Market Report Scope

Sulfur Hexafluoride Market Report Coverage

Report Coverage Details
Base Year: 2023 Market Size in 2024: US$ 305.8 Mn
Historical Data for: 2019 To 2023 Forecast Period: 2024 To 2031
Forecast Period 2024 to 2031 CAGR: 6.1% 2031 Value Projection: US$ 462.9 Mn
Geographies covered:
  • North America: U.S. and Canada
  • Latin America: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Rest of Latin America
  • Europe: Germany, U.K., Spain, France, Italy, Russia, and Rest of Europe
  • Asia Pacific: China, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, ASEAN, and Rest of Asia Pacific
  • Middle East & Africa: GCC Countries, Israel, and Rest of Middle East & Africa
Segments covered:
  • By Grade: Electronic Grade, UHP Grade, and Standard Grade
  • By Application: Power & Energy, Medical, Metal Manufacturing, Electronics, and Others 
Companies covered:

Advanced Specialty Gases, Honeywell International, Showa Denko K.K Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc., Ashirwad Gas, Solvay, Sol India, Phoenix Gases Pvt. Ltd., Miragas Co., Ltd, Rhodia Specialty Chemicals India Ltd, Verni Gas Corporation, Vadilal Chemicals Limited, ATCO, Axcel gases, Linde, and IDeaspromo Solutions Private Limited

Growth Drivers:
  • Use of sulfur hexafluoride in electrical equipment
  • Growing usage of renewable energy
Restraints & Challenges:
  • Stringent regulations regarding the production and use
  • Availability of substitute gases

Key Developments

  • In 2022, DUAL-ADE, a leading provider of high-voltage equipment, and nuventura, a pioneer in sustainable switchgear technology, announced a strategic partnership to introduce innovative SF6-free Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS) solutions to the North American market. This collaboration aims to revolutionize the electrical industry by offering environmentally-friendly alternatives to traditional SF6-based GIS systems.
  • In August 2021, KNW, a leading chemical company, announced the successful closing of its acquisition of Solvay Korea, a subsidiary of the Belgian chemical group Solvay. This strategic acquisition marks a significant milestone for KNW, as it secures a strong foothold in the fluorine (F2) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) markets.
  • In 2021, National Grid, a leading electricity and gas utility company, and Hitachi Energy, a global technology leader, announced a groundbreaking collaboration to replace sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) in existing high-voltage equipment. This partnership marks a significant milestone in the industry's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote more sustainable practices.
  • In 2021, Schneider Electric introduced new sulfur hexafluoride-free switchgear

*Definition: The sulfur hexafluoride market consists of companies involved in the production, processing, and distribution of sulfur hexafluoride gas. Sulfur hexafluoride, with the chemical formula SF6, is an inorganic, colorless, odorless, and non-toxic gas that has applications in electricity utilities for high-voltage circuit breakers and switchgears due to its excellent dielectric properties.

Market Segmentation

  •  Grade Insights (Revenue, USD Mn & KT, 2019 - 2031)
    • Electronic Grade
    • UHP Grade
    • Standard Grade
  •  Application Insights (Revenue, USD Mn & KT, 2019 - 2031)
    • Power & Energy
    • Medical
    • Metal Manufacturing
    • Electronics
    • Others
  • Regional Insights (Revenue, USD Mn & KT, 2019 - 2031)
    • North America
      • U.S.
      • Canada
    • Latin America
      • Brazil
      • Argentina
      • Mexico
      • Rest of Latin America
    • Europe
      • Germany
      • U.K.
      • Spain
      • France
      • Italy
      • Russia
      • Rest of Europe
    • Asia Pacific
      • China
      • India
      • Japan
      • Australia
      • South Korea
      • ASEAN
      • Rest of Asia Pacific
    • Middle East & Africa
      • GCC Countries
      • Israel
      • Rest of Middle East & Africa
  • Key Players Insights
    • Advanced Specialty Gases
    • Honeywell International
    • Showa Denko K.K Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc.
    • Ashirwad Gas
    • Solvay
    • Sol India
    • Phoenix Gases Pvt. Ltd.
    • Miragas Co., Ltd
    • Rhodia Specialty Chemicals India Ltd
    • Verni Gas Corporation
    • Vadilal Chemicals Limited
    • ATCO
    • Axcel gases
    • Linde
    • IDeaspromo Solutions Private Limited.

Frequently Asked Questions

The CAGR of the sulfur hexafluoride market is projected to be 6.1% from 2024 to 2031.

Use of sulfur hexafluoride in electrical equipment and growing usage of renewable energy are the major factor driving the growth of the sulfur hexafluoride market.

Stringent regulations regarding the production and use and availability of substitute gases are the major factors hampering the growth of the sulfur hexafluoride market.

In terms of grade, standard grade is estimated to dominate the market revenue share in 2024.

Advanced Specialty Gases, Honeywell International, Showa Denko K.K Matheson Tri-Gas, Inc., Ashirwad Gas, Solvay, Sol India, Phoenix Gases Pvt. Ltd., Miragas Co., Ltd, Rhodia Specialty Chemicals India Ltd, Verni Gas Corporation, Vadilal Chemicals Limited, ATCO, Axcel gases, Linde, and IDeaspromo Solutions Private Limited. are the major players.

North America is expected to lead the sulfur hexafluoride market.

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