In the following blog about Chlorine, the definition, application, price analysis, production and leading players have been dealt with, aiming at the best and quick insights into the latest dynamics of the chlorine market. The post helps procurement experts gain insight into the chemical and its supply-demand dynamics.
Chlorine: Explained with Properties
Chlorine (Cl) is a chemical substance that is among the ninety fundamental building blocks of matter. It can be incorporated with other compounds and elements that facilitate the production of thousands of important products ranging from drinking water disinfectants to solar energy panels and knee and hip joint replacement. Because of its chemical reactivity, it is seldom found in nature as elemental chlorine usually exists bonded to other elements in the form of chemical compounds like sodium chloride (table salt).
Chlorine has excellent disinfection properties, and it is also an essential chemical building block that finds use in producing several products across industries like security, public health and safety, nutrition, advanced technology, and transportation. It is usually produced from common salt and helps provide safer, more convenient, and more comfortable lives. The chemical should be used by people while wearing protective gear, stored in ventilated areas, and not be mixed with chemicals.
Applications of Chlorine Driving its Demand
Chlorine has a wide range of applications across various industries. The following end-uses are mentioned below:
- Water Treatment– The chemistry involved in chlorine helps in keeping the water for drinking and swimming pools safe. In the earlier city water that wasn’t treated with chlorine-based disinfectants, a large number of people suffered from waterborne diseases like typhoid fever, hepatitis A, cholera and dysentery. dichlor1 and trichlor2, which are chlorine-based pool and spa disinfectants, help in eradicating and destroying waterborne pathogens preventing issues like diarrhoea, swimmer’s ear or skin rashes like athlete’s foot.
- Household Disinfectant– Chlorine is also employed for manufacturing household chlorine bleach that helps whiten and disinfect clothes and disinfect bathroom surfaces and the kitchen.
- Food Industry– Chlorine is used to offer safe and ample food by preventing pest infestation in crops and killing E. coli, salmonella etc., that keep kitchen counters and other food-contact surfaces disinfected.
- Healthcare– The chemical has applications in the production of medicines, for instance, the one that helps lower cholesterol, control pain caused by arthritis and relieve symptoms of allergy. It can also be found in products like medical devices, blood bags, and surgical stitches. Also, it is used to manufacture safety glasses, contact lenses, and respiratory inhalers.
- Energy and Environment– Chlorine chemistry has a vital role in harnessing solar energy as it purifies the silicon in grains of sand that helps turn them into solar panel chips. Further, chlorine-based epoxy resins are used to make wind turbine blades convert wind power into electricity.
- Advanced Technology- The product is used to produce fast processors that help power tablets, smartphones, and computers. It also plays a role in manufacturing residential and commercial air conditioning refrigerants, high-performance magnets, and hybrid car batteries.
- Building and Construction– Plastic foam insulation made using chlorine increases the energy efficiency of home air-conditioning and heating systems, which helps lower bills and conserve natural resources.
- Defence and Law Enforcement– Chlorine is employed for manufacturing bullet-resistant vests that are used by police officers and soldiers. It is also used for producing night vision goggles, parachutes, and cockpit canopies and missile guidance technologies.
- Transportation– Chlorine has applications in manufacturing automobiles, planes, boats, and trains. It also finds use in producing bumpers, shatter-resistant windows, airbags, navigation systems, steel hulls, seat cushions, brake fluid and wire and cable.
Chlorine Production Processes
- Chlorine Production from Electrolysis of Salt: In the process, brine sodium chloride’s electrolysis takes place, which results in wet chlorine gas releasing from one of the terminals. In order to derive dry chlorine, it is chilled to 12-14 degree Celsius.
- Chlorine Production from the Chlor-Alkali Process: In this process, the NaCl salt is used, which is usually obtained with many impurities of magnesium and Calcium sulphate that are extracted by soda ash and barium chloride. The electrolysis is carried out employing a mercury cell, and the hot chlorine released gets chilled to 12-14 degrees Celsius.
Key Suppliers in the Chlorine Market
- Ercros S.A
- Olin Corporation
- Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OxyChem)
Chlorine Price Trend Study
The prices of Chlorine remained low in recent months in the USA market. Furthermore, the demand for downstream Hydrochloric acid production was muted, and the industrial output sank. The Chlorine pricing dynamics were impacted by the downbeat purchasing confidence and escalating uncertainties in the market. The soaring inflation decelerated trade activities, which worsened the market player’s buying sentiments in the downstream industry, including the ones producing Hydrochloric Acid. In addition, the factors like withering market activities and low offtakes resulted in a force majeure in Covestro, situated in Texas (USA), between December twenty-three to thirty-first, 2022.
The market for Chlorine displayed a bearish sentiment recently. The prices of the commodity were affected by the wavering downstream Hydrochloric acid production industry demand in the market in China. However, the relaxing of COVID-19 curbs currently has resulted in a pick-up in the downstream demand. But the pricing trend for Chlorine is headed in the southward direction in the Asia Pacific region due to sufficient availability of cargo. The restricted downstream textile and paper demand, along with the dropping prices of coal, led to reduced prices of the commodity.
The Chlorine prices currently indicated a bearish market sentiment owing to surplus supplies as well as frail price aid from the downstream Hydrochloric Acid and water treatment industries. The deteriorated demand fundamentals, along with elevated prices of energy because of the energy issues in Europe, have caused production cuts in the region’s downstream industries, impacting Chlorine’s price trajectory. The lowering downstream market and frail financial circumstances have resulted in the industry leaders making offtakes at lower margins, lowering the market’s competitiveness amidst uncertain prices of energy and increased inflation recently.
The chemical industry is a lucrative sector to scale one’s business. However, the most crucial pivot to work on comes with getting exhaustive and thorough insights into the products a business caters to. Hence, keeping a tab on the latest factors affecting the trajectories of products.