Nitric acid (HNO3), which is also known as spirit of niter or aqua fortis, is a mineral acid which is corrosive in nature. It is a strong oxidizing agent with acrid and pungent odor. Nitric acid is mainly used to add nitrogen into other compounds and is naturally made by reacting rain water with nitrogen oxides present in air. It is highly toxic and hence must be handled carefully by wearing gloves, masks, and protective glasses. Nitric acid produces flammable hydrogen gas when it comes in contact with metals.

Drivers and Restraints

Rising demand for concentrated nitric acid from several end-use industries such as automotive and agrochemicals among others is fueling growth of concentrated nitric acid market. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), around 70% of nitric acid is used for the production of ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3), which finds wide application in fertilizers. Furthermore, rising demand for nylon 6-6, as a replacement for metals in the automotive industry is fueling growth of concentrated nitric acid market.

However, stringent government regulations and environmental concerns are major restraining factors hindering growth of concentrated nitric acid market. According to the United States Government Publishing office (GPO), under title 49 CFR 173.158, nitric acid (more than 40% of concentration) cannot be packed with any other material and should not contain impurities such as hydrochloric (HCl) or sulfuric acid (H2SO4) acid while transported by highway or by rail.

Market Trends

On the basis of end-use industries, the agrochemicals sector is expected to dominate the concentrated nitric acid market over the forecast period. Rising global population has led to an increasing demand for food grains. Therefore, the demand for agrochemicals has increased significantly in order to increase the yield of farming, which in turn will increase demand for concentrated nitric acid. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the agrochemical sector in India is expected to grow at 7.5% annually with a growing domestic demand of 6.5% per annum, to reach US$ 6.3 billion by 2020.

Market Outlook

  • Europe dominated the global concentrated nitric acid market in 2016. Europe has the highest consumption for concentrated nitric acid, owing to its requirement in fertilizer industries for the synthesis of ammonium nitrate and calcium ammonium nitrate. According to Coherent Market Insights, the annual production of nitric acid was valued at 55 million tons. Furthermore, around 96% of the nitric acid is used for the production of calcium ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate, and a relatively small amount is used for the production of explosives. However, some of the European economies such as Germany and Ireland banned ammonium nitrate, mandating that it should be combined with calcium carbonate, which is restraining growth of the concentrated nitric acid market at present.
  • Asia pacific is the fastest growing market region for concentrated nitric acid with China being the frontrunner for this market. The demand for concentrated HNO3 is rising due to its increasing applications in fertilizers, textiles, vehicles, and explosives among others. Furthermore, the burgeoning growth of automotive industry in Asia Pacific has led to a robust demand for concentrated nitric acid. According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), automobiles in India was valued at US$ 74 billion in 2015 and is estimated to reach up to US$ 260 billion to US$ 300 billion by 2026.
  • North America is expected to show a steady growth in concentrated nitric acid market over the forecast period. Increasing demand for Ammonium Nitrate and Fuel Oil (ANFO), which acts as oxidizing agent and fuel absorbent in manufacturing of civil explosives is another major driver for high demand for concentrated nitric acid in the region. According to the United States Geographical Survey, in North America, mixtures of ANFO are used in around 80% of the explosives.

Key Trends

Several companies are focused towards adopting various organic and inorganic growth strategies such as mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, and product or technological innovations to retain position in the concentrated nitric acid market. For instance, in January 2016, KBR Inc. acquired Plinke GmbH, Weatherly Inc, and Chematur Ecoplanning Oy to provide fertilizer complex solutions that will help in improving nitric acid plant performance and expanding their presence outside North America. Furthermore, Weatherly Inc., a subsidiary of KBR Inc. launched dual pressure nitric acid technology in September 2016, which allowed large scale production of nitric acid.

Market players

Some of the leading players operating in the global concentrated nitric acid market include Nutrien Ltd., BASF S.E., CF Industries Holdings, Inc., Bayer A.G., LSB Industries Inc., Shandong Fengyuan Chemical Stock Co.,Ltd., DowDuPont Inc., Ube Industries, and Yara International.

Concentrated Nitric Acid Market Taxonomy

On the basis of product type, the concentrated nitric acid market is segmented into:

  • Strong nitric acid
  • Fuming nitric acid

On the basis of application, the concentrated nitric acid market is segmented into:

  • Ammonium Nitrate
  • Adipic Acid
  • Nitrobenzene
  • Toluene Diisocyanate
  • Others

On the basis of end-use industry, the concentrated nitric acid market is segmented into:

  • Automotive
  • Agrochemicals
  • Electronics
  • Defense
  • Others

Key Developments:

  • In April 2019, Plinke GmbH, a subsidiary of KBR, Inc. has been awarded a contract to build Concentrated Nitric Acid plant (CNA) at Bharuch, Gujarat by Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers & Chemicals Limited (GNFC). The plant will produce 98.5% concentrated nitric acid specifically for the Indian market.

Research Methodology

Coherent Market Insights followsa comprehensive research methodology focused on providing the most precise market analysis. The company leverages a data triangulation model which helps company to gauge the market dynamics and provide accurate estimates. Key components of the research methodologies followed for all our market reports include:

  • Primary Research (Trade Surveys and Experts Interviews)
  • Desk Research
  • Proprietor Data Analytics Model

In addition to this, Coherent Market Insights has access to a wide range of the regional and global reputed paid data bases, which helps the company to figure out the regional and global market trends and dynamics. The company analyses the industry from the 360 Degree Perspective i.e. from the Supply Side and Demand Side which enables us to provide granular details of the entire ecosystem for each study. Finally, a Top-Down approach and Bottom-Up approach is followed to arrive at ultimate research findings.

Data Triangulation Methodology | Coherent Market Insights

Coherent Market Insights desk research is based on a principle set of research techniques:

  • National level desk research: It Includes research analysis of regional players, regional regulatory bodies, regional trade associations, and regional organization.
  • Multinational level desk research: The research team keeps a track of multinational players, global regulatory bodies, global trade associations, and global organization.

Coherent Market Insights has a large amount of in-house repository of industry database. This is leveraged as a burner for initiating a new research study. Key secondary sources include:

  • Governmental bodies, National and international social welfare institutions, and organizations creating economic policies among others.
  • Trade association, National and international media and trade press.
  • Company Annual reports, SEC filings, Corporate Presentations, press release, news, and specification sheet of manufacturers, system integrators, brick and mortar - distributors and retailers, and third party online commerce players.
  • Scientific journals, and other technical magazines and whitepapers.

Market Analysis | Coherent Market Insights

Preliminary Data Mining

The raw data is obtained through the secondary findings, in house repositories, and trade surveys. It is then filtered to ensure that the relevant information including industry dynamics, trends, and outlook is retained for further research process.

Data Standardization

Holistic approach is used to ensure that the granular and uncommon parameters are taken into consideration to ensure accurate results. The information from the paid databases are further combined to the raw data in order to standardize it.

Coherent Statistical model

We arrive at our final research findings through simulation models. Coherent Data Analytics Model is a statistical tool that helps company to forecast market estimates. Few of the parameters considered as a part of the statistical model include:

  • Micro-economic indicators
  • Macro-economic indicators
  • Environmental indicators
  • Socio-political indicators
  • Technology indicators

Data Processing

Once the findings are derived from the statistical model, large volume of data is process to confirm accurate research results. Data analytics and processing tools are adopted to process large chunk of collected informative data. In case, a client customizes the study during the process, the research finding till then are benchmarked, and the process for new research requirement is initiated again.

Data Validation

This is the most crucial stage of the research process. Primary Interviews are conducted to validate the data and analysis. This helps in achieving the following purposes:

  • It provides first-hand information on the market dynamics, outlook, and growth parameters.
  • Industry experts validates the estimates which helps the company to cement the on-going research study.
  • Primary research includes online surveys, face-to face interviews, and telephonic interviews.

The primary research is conducted with the ecosystem players including, but not limited to:

  • Raw Material Suppliers
  • Manufacturers
  • System Integrators
  • Distributors
  • End-users