Emission-control catalysts market set for steady expansion

16:20 PM | February 26, 2020 | Ian Young

The market for emission-control catalysts was worth $13.6 billion in 2019, excluding the value of the precious metals that go into this market, and is expected to grow about 2%/year through 2024, according to a recent report by IHS Markit. The value of the precious metals, mainly platinum group metals (PGMs), consumed in the production of these catalysts was just more than $19 billion last year, at average annual precious metal prices. Environmental concerns and measures to fight pollution are driving demand for emission-control catalysts, according to IHS Markit.

The emission-control catalyst market is split between catalysts for mobile sources such as cars, valued at $12.4 billion in 2019, and catalysts for stationary sources such as fossil-fuel-fired power plants, diesel- and gas-fired engines, chemical and industrial processes, and marine and locomotive applications, worth $1.24 billion last year, IHS Markit says.

Consumption of catalysts for mobile sources is expected to grow by about 2%/year to $13.7 billion by 2024, according to IHS Markit. China will be the fastest-growing market with demand expected to increase 3.7%/year during this period. Annual growth in North America and Europe will be much slower, at 0.4% and 0.8%, respectively, and the market in Japan and South Korea will decline on average by 0.7% annually, IHS Markit says.

China is also the largest market for vehicle emission-control catalysts, with a world market share of 25.4% in 2019, the IHS Markit report says. Europe is the second-largest market, accounting for 22.9%, followed by North America with 22.3%. Catalyst consumption in China will continue to grow with increasing vehicle production, the report says. Emission-control regulations are also becoming more stringent in China, which will boost demand growth. The fastest-developing regions for these catalysts are Southeast Asia and India, where vehicle production is increasing, and emission standards are tightening.

Consumption of stationary emission-control catalysts is expected to grow at a rate of about 2.1%/year to approximately $1.37 billion by 2024, according to IHS Markit. China will account for most of the growth with the Chinese market forecast to expand 4%/year during this period. Consumption in North America and Europe will decline on average by 4.2%/year.

The main processes used in stationary emission-control catalysts are selective catalytic reduction (SCR), catalytic oxidation, catalyzed traps/filters for particulate matter, and catalytic incineration of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. The main end-use industries are fossil-fuel-fired power plants, diesel- and gas-fired generators, turbines and boilers, chemical and industrial processes, and marine and locomotive applications.

The SCR catalyst market can be split into two segments: the reload and retrofit segment to replace the spent catalyst layers in existing installations, and the original equipment market to furnish newly built processing plants.

IHS Markit sees catalysts for environmental protection becoming more widespread for applications such as off-gas cleaning, including nitrogen oxide from electrical power plants, refineries, and chemical plants, as well as from furnaces, boilers, and incinerators; VOC emission treatment from chemical plants and surface-coating facilities; regenerative thermal oxidizers and converters for exhaust streams in chemical plants; and dioxin reduction from waste incinerators.

Trends driving the worldwide emission-control catalyst business in 2019–24 include increased car production, especially in developing countries; more stringent legislation on car emissions in all regions, with India becoming a driver for catalyst demand in the next five years; and stricter emission standards for nonroad diesel engines.

IHS Markit says that critical success factors in the emission-control catalyst industry, regardless of product type, include cost-effective production and distribution; a focus on core competencies, technologies, markets, and globalization; a long-term commitment to the industry backed by appropriate levels of investment; an understanding of market and legislative driving forces and trends; and a highly-trained, skilled sales and technical-service force.

Leading chemical companies such as BASF, Clariant, Johnson Matthey (JM), and Nippon Shokubai are among the biggest suppliers of emission-control catalysts. Plant engineering and technology-licensing companies, including Haldor Topsoe, Shell’s catalysts and technologies business, and Uhde are also major suppliers of these catalysts. Several players in the advanced ceramic materials industry also have subsidiaries that supply the catalysts, as do leading automakers such as Toyota. Chemical firms including BASF, JM, and WC Heraeus also supply the PGMs used in these catalysts.