Kraft Lignin Products Market - Segmented by Application, and Geography - Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2018 - 2023)
The kraft lignin products market is expected to witness a healthy growth, at an estimated CAGR of 7.30%, over the period of 2018-2023. The market is driven by the rising demand for carbon fibers. Increasing consumption of activated carbon is likely to act an opportunity for the market’s growth.
Rising Demand for Carbon Fibers
Kraft lignin is one of the key renewable raw materials for the manufacture of carbon fibers. Kraft lignin is converted into carbon fiber through melt spinning process and saves a lot of time, as compared to other raw materials. Another advantage of kraft lignin based carbon fiber is a significant decrease in manufacturing costs. Hence, the demand for carbon fiber in various applications is in turn boosting the demand for kraft lignin. Carbon fibers are increasingly being used in different industries owing to it high strength and lightweight property. The carbon fiber is used in lightweight CNG tanks, which are used in automobile as an alternative fuel. The renewable energy market is growing rapidly, across the world, due to several reasons, which include CO2 emissions, ozone depletion, limited fossil fuel resources, and fuel efficiency. Carbon fibers have experienced a widespread use in the automotive industry owing to their ever-higher strength-to-weight ratios, corrosion resistivity, and workability features. They are replacing metal in various automotive applications, due to their light-weight but tough features, which contributes to lesser fuel consumption. There is demand for having system and body parts that are durable, offer better performance, and be lightweight. In a typical automobile, the use of fibers is 50% by volume while adding just 10% of weight. With such aforementioned high potential market in future, the increasing demand for carbon fiber is expected to boost the commercial market for kraft lignin, across the world.
Fertilizers and Pesticides - A Huge Market Potential
Kraft lignin is used in the manufacturing process of fertilizers and pesticides. For instance, Urea is made up of 90‐99% urea 1‐10 lignin by wt%. Lignin is consumed either directly or chemically modified, as a binder, dispersant agent for pesticides or herbicides, emulsifier, and as a heavy metal sequestrate. Black liquors from Kraft pulping and Sulfite process have been used as a source of sulfate and sulfite lignin, respectively. Kraft lignin products has been applied as an additive for restoring vegetation on road slope and mountain ranges. Pulverized and oxidized lignin, when mixed with other chemicals, is also utilized as a soil water retention agent in acidic dry land or desert soil conditions, or as a binder for fertilizer. Kraft lignin is abundantly used as a controlled-release fertilizer coating, since this by-product exhibits properties that make it an ideal substance for application in soil together with conventional mineral fertilizers. Geographically, North America leads the way in the consumption of kraft lignin as urea additive. The significant agricultural boom that is underway in the region, are expected to boost the regional market.
North America Region to Dominate the Market
North America is the largest producer of the global kraft lignin products, majorly dominated by Canada and United States. A shift in industry preference to biobased products, due to the need of reducing dependence on fossil sources, is expected to continue as a key driver for kraft lignin products market growth in the region, during the forecast period. In Canada, there is a kraft lignin surplus of approximately 1.06 million metric ton per year (after ensuring pulp mills’ recovery boiler demand) from the 23 pulp mills, which may be used for production of value-added biobased products. This kraft lignin supply can create a USD 1.5 billion lignin-based bioproducts industry, which is one of the major opportunities in the future. Lower molecular weight and higher reactivity depolymerized kraft lignin is a promising bioreplacement for petroleum-based chemicals, such as phenols and polyols for the synthesis of biophenol formaldehyde or biopolyurethane resins. Although, kraft lignin is currently used mainly for the production of bioenergy in pulp mills, 60%-70% of the recovery boilers in North America have capacity limitations (bottleneck), which results in a surplus of kraft lignin. This excess of kraft lignin is now beginning to be extracted for the production of biobased chemicals and materials. For example, West Fraser’s FPInnovations LignoForce technology started to remove 30 metric ton per day excess lignin in its pulp mill in Hinton, Alberta, aiming for higher value-added applications, such as resins. Such Innovations by Major Players are expected to further boost the kraft lignin products market in the region during the forecast period.
Major Players -Stora Enso, WestRock, Domtar Corporation, West Fraser, and Innventia Group, among others.
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