Fluorine, an almost colorless gas with characteristic odor, is one the most abundantly present and lightest element in the halogen group. Fluorine is found in nature only in the form of a compound except in trace amounts of free elements in fluorspar. Elemental fluorine is prepared by Moissan’s process– electrolysis from potassium fluoride and anhydrous hydrogen fluoride. Elemental fluorine is used for numerous application including metallurgy, electrolysis, electroplating, for manufacture of glass, abrasives photovoltaic production and semiconductor production. Gaseous at room temperature and pressure, fluorine is compressed to a liquid for shipment in cylinders or in tank trucks. Elemental fluorine is used to make uranium hexafluoride, sulphur hexafluoride and halogen fluorides. Elemental fluorine reacts with hydrocarbons to form corresponding fluorocarbons in which it replaces some or all hydrogen resulting into stable, inert and electrically resistant compounds.
The elemental fluorine market is being driven by demand from various end use industries. Due to enhancement of physical and chemical properties by addition of fluorine, it is highly sought for manufacture of polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF). Likewise fluorinated organic compounds are also used as solvents, electrolyte in Li-ion batteries, pesticides, lubricants etc. The demand for elemental fluorine is in high for the production uranium hexafluoride which is used for uranium enrichment, the fuel for nuclear reactors and weapons. About 60 % of the world production of elemental fluoride is utilized to synthesize uranium hexafluoride. Fluorine being one of the best oxidizing agents because of which it is utilized for remove Siliconoxide(SiO2) and Siliconnitride (Si3N4) in semiconductor applications. Fluorine in elemental form is highly reactive and hence has to be contained and handled properly. Significant cost is incurred for its handling, storage and transport. High costs and availability of various substitutes restrain the elemental fluorine market.
The elemental fluorine market can be segmented on the basis of regions— North America, Latin America, APEJ, Japan, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Middle East and Africa. In terms on elemental fluorine production and consumption Western Europe and North America spearhead the elemental fluorine market. Western Europe is the largest market for elemental fluorine and with the increase in consumption of elemental fluorine for chemical processing, plastics, semiconductors and other application the demand is further anticipated to increase albeit slowly during the forecast years in the Western Europe. North America is anticipated to exhibit a stable growth during the forecast years. Key region driving the elemental fluorine demand in the APEJ region is China followed by India and South Korea. The growth in the consumption and production of elemental fluorine in APEJ is anticipated to be significant owing to increasing number of end use industries and growing economies in the region. Followed by APEJ, Japan and Middle East & Africa are key geographies for the elemental fluorine market.
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The elemental fluorine market is highly segmented, with numerous manufacturers present on regional levels.Some of the key players identified in the report are Solvay, Kanto Denka Kogyo Co., Ltd. Tanfac, Pelchem among many others.