US demand to increase 4% per annum through 2017
US demand for corrosion inhibitors is forecast to expand 4.0 percent per year through 2017 on a value basis, supported primarily by an expanding economy, increasing chemical production, and rising oil and natural gas output. Additionally, rising construction spending will support demand for corrosion inhibitors used in cement and concrete, coatings, and metal applications. The corrosion inhibitors industry will continue to respond to evolving trends including environmental concerns about popular corrosion inhibitors such as nitrites and molybdates, and sustained pricing volatility for molybdates, by investing in the development of new, less costly products with improved performance and better environmental profiles. Organic corrosion inhibitors will be the primary beneficiary of these trends as they have been the focus of much of the new product development. Value growth will also be aided by the introduction of new hybrid products that include additional functions other than corrosion protection.
Market environment factors restricting demand growth
With government estimates of the annual cost of corrosion exceeding three percent of GDP, corrosion prevention remains a high priority for a number of different sectors in the US economy. However, despite significant need for corrosion protection in many industries, pressures such as environmental concerns, price volatility, and new product developments have influenced the amount, types, and availability of certain types of corrosion inhibitors. Additionally, industries that are intensive users of water that require treatment with corrosion inhibitors, such as chemical manufacturing and petroleum refining, are reducing the amount of water used per unit produced, influencing the types and amounts of corrosion inhibitors being consumed.
Closed loop cooling systems to benefit nitrites, hybrids
Environmental concerns over process and waste waters have prompted many industries to implement closed loop cooling systems to address these issues. As a result, traditional products such as nitrites that function very well in closed systems have increased in demand while new hybrid products have been developed that can offer corrosion protection along with other functional qualities. Further growth in this area will also be supported by the power industry’s transition away from older coal-fired plants toward new natural gas plants due to regulations requiring the use of closed loop systems on new plants. However, the growing use of different cooling systems such as dry-cooling, hybrid drywet cooling, and cooling with fluids other than water will have a moderating effect.
Price increases have reduced demand for molybdate & other types
Pricing issues have also been a major concern over the past decade as some inhibitors have significantly increased in price. For example, molybdates, despite being popular cooling water additives, have seen demand decline as molybdate prices soared between 2002 and 2007. While molybdate prices moderated from 2007 to 2012, they remain high compared to other corrosion inhibitors, and pressure to develop molybdate free alternatives will restrain demand for molybdates going forward.
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